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King of the mountains Jay Vine has been forced to drop out of the Vuelta a España just days away from winning that title, with the Australian one of several big names to crash on Thursday’s stage 18 of the race.
The Alpecin-Deceuninck rider hit the deck early on, along with green jersey wearer Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) and the rider in fourth overall, Carlos Rodriguez (Ineos Grenadiers). The crash involved a cluster of riders and occurred on a straight stretch of flat road.
Etapa 1⃣8⃣ Stage | 🏁 – 156 km
— La Vuelta (@lavuelta) September 8, 2022
Double stage winner Vine was the most severely injured, with the Australian tended to by the roadside before being loaded into the race ambulance, distraught with his exit. He was nursing his left wrist, which was covered in blood.
Rodríguez, Pedersen and the other riders involved were able to continue, but the young Spaniard was heavily cut. He has abrasions to his back, knee and elbow, and may well be under pressure on the difficult climbs towards the end of the stage.
#LaVuelta22 – 🏁 91 km
🇪🇸 Carlos Rodriguez was involved in a crash at the beginning of the stage. Doesn't look good, but he's still on the bike. Hopefully he'll be able to protect his 4th place in GC later on today…#DomestiqueLive pic.twitter.com/VVw6ycLpgW
— Domestique (@Domestique___) September 8, 2022
Vine had a highly impressive Vuelta campaign, landing his first pro win when he soloed to victory on the summit finish of the Ascensión al Pico Jano on stage 6. He attacked on the final climb, reeled in the leader Mark Padun (EF Education-EasyPost) and fended off a chase by Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) and Enric Mas (Movistar).
He followed that up two days later with another win, going clear in the day’s break, taking maximum King of the Mountains points on each of the six climbs and then surging clear to reach the finish 43 seconds ahead of Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates).
Vine had a dominant lead in the King of the Mountains competition starting Thursday’s stage. He had 59 points, almost double the 30 of Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers). Carapaz is in the day’s break and took maximum points on the day’s first climb.
He looks poised to take over the polka-dot jersey, but would have preferred to have done so in another way.
As for green jersey Pedersen, his Trek-Segafredo team has indicated that he doesn’t appear to be too badly hurt after his fall.