September 07, Stage 5:
Impey wins Tour of Alberta
September 07, 2014, 23:00 BST,
September 08, 2014, 2:44 BST
Orica-GreenEdge rider claims final stage victory
Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEdge) wins the final stage of the Tour of Alberta to give him the overall victory
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Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEdge) won the final stage and took the overall by one second at the Tour of Alberta Sunday, benefiting from a 10-second time bonus for the stage win to surge past Giant-Shimano’s Tom Dumoulin, who had led the general classification since the opening prologue.
Impey survived a rain-soaked urban circuit in downtown Edmonton to finish the stage ahead of Optum Pro Cycling’s Ryan Anderson and Garmin-Sharp’s Ramunas Navardauskas. Dumoulin finished the stage in 16th place and dropped to second overall. Bissell Development Team’s Ruben Zepuntke finished with the lead group and finished third overall, followed by Navardauskas in fourth and Anderson in fifth.
Impey benefited from having the bulk of his team in the final lead group of about 40 riders, and he got a long leadout that catapulted him to the front, where he held off a fast charge from Anderson at the line.
“We always knew that to win the stage was going to be difficult,” Impey said. “And I’m not known as the world’s best sprinter. I don’t win a lot of races per year, but the team did such a great leadout and put me in such a great position that I was able to win. Sometimes when you gamble the way we did, things pay off for you.”
Dumoulin was obviously disappointed at having the overall win slip away on the final day, but the 23-year-old rider was able to take home the jersey for the best young rider at week’s end.
“If you’re in for a good laugh, check my results from this year and last year – a lot of second places,” Dumoulin said. “And to lose it on the last day again with one second, I cannot believe this happened again. So I’m pretty sad actually, but, yeah, whatever. Next race.”
Dumoulin’s team came into the stage hoping a breakaway would go that could gobble up all the time bonuses. But when things came back together late in the race, the general classification was going to come down to the final sprint.
“We hoped for attacks and aggressive racing so that the others wouldn’t take seconds away,” Dumoulin said. “But it didn’t happen, and in the end it stayed together, and that was not what we wanted. But that’s racing. Other teams have different ideas, and, yeah, it was impossible.”
Navardauskas was also hoping to ride onto the overall podium during the final stage, but he also fell victim to Orica’s leadout for Impey.
“You could see that they had six guys on the front pulling,” The Garmin rider said. “And you already knew what was happening, so you just had to stay on the wheel and wait until the last 300-200 meters to go. That’s what I was trying to do, but then in the corners I lost a couple of positions. In the last 200 meters I was fifth position and I went from there.”
Sunday’s conclusion at the Tour of Alberta took over the streets of Edmonton with a 121km circuit race. The peloton traversed 11 laps of a difficult 11km circuit that featured the short-but-steep climb up Bellamy Hill Road, which played a starring role in last year’s prologue. The ensuing descent to the riverfront was followed by another climb to the start/finish in the city center.
The stage included two intermediate sprints that offered bonuses of three seconds, two seconds and one second. And there were bonuses of 10, six and four seconds for the top three at the finish. With the top five riders in the general classification separated by just 14 seconds, the bonuses played a huge part in the teams’ strategies for the day.
Orica, which had Impey in third at just nine seconds down, sent Christian Meier up the road early with Dumoulin’s teammate Georg Preidler. Meier, who started the day just 39 seconds down, took the first three-second time bonus at the end of lap four, but Giant-Shimano took care of the other bonuses with Preidler and then Jonas Ahlstrand.
With Meier and Preidler back in the field after the intermediate sprint, escape attempts flew frequently, but none of the groups was able to stick until lap 7, when 10 leaders finally gelled off the front.
The lead group included multiple riders that were less than a minute down on Dumoulin, including his teammate Simon Geschke at 36 seconds; Bissell’s Daniel Eaton at 39 seconds; Belkin’s Steven Kruijswijk at 47 seconds; Orica’s Simon Yates at 50 seconds; Hincapie Sportswear’s Ty Magner at 52 seconds; Optum Pro Cycling’s Alex Candelario at 57 seconds; 5-hour Energy’s Michael Woods at 1:45; Team SnartStop’s Zach Bell at 1:19; UnitedHealhtcare’s Allessandro Bazzana more than 10 minutes behind; and Jelly Belly’s Kirk Carlsen at more than 16 minutes in arrears.
The leaders had built a gap of more than a minute when Kruijswijk jumped away on lap 8, grabbing the maximum time bonus at the second intermediate sprint and setting off on a solo move. But the reduced peloton of about 40 riders, which included Dumoulin and most of the contenders for the overall win, closed the gap on the penultimate circuit, reshuffling the race once more and setting up the dramatic final sprint.