12th place for Impey in cold and wet Tour of Romandie prologue

Tue 26 Apr 2016

South African time trial champion Daryl Impey finished in 12th place in the prologue on the opening day of the Tour De Romandie today after cold and wet conditions led to many cautious performances and a crash for Michael Albasini.

After finishing in second place in Sunday’s epic Liège-Bastogne-Liège Albasini posted the fourth fastest split time before crashing on the descent and crossing the line 46seconds down on stage winner Jon Izagirre (Movistar).

Impey produced a strong performance for ORICA-GreenEDGE, provisionally occupying the number one spot with a time of five minutes 46seconds.

Sport director Neil Stephens was relieved all of the ORICA-GreenEDGE riders came through the cold and damp prologue in one piece. 

“It was a great ride from Daryl (Impey),” said Stephens. “The roads were really wet throughout the day but fortunately it had stopped raining by the time he hit the course and he was able to put the hammer down.”

Michael (Hepburn) was really up for it but he was one of the first guys off the ramp and couldn’t get any traction on the road surface, it was that bad in the beginning.”

Stephens continued by praising the overall good condition of the team.

“Everyone rode well today," he continued. "We didn’t have anyone too far down the placings and it’s a real testament to the great condition that the guys are in.”

“Michael (Albasini) hit the deck and it looked much worse than it actually was because he got straight back up and posted a decent time. I'm happy that we all came through today in one piece and we can look forward to tomorrow and a decent road stage.”

How it happened:

As with Liège-Bastogne-Liège on Sunday the temperatures were low and the snow was falling before the start of the Prologue in La Chaux-de-Fonds today.

The first riders rolling out on the four-kilometre course set off tentatively in the slippery conditions, the best early time was set by Brent Bookwalter (Trek-Segafredo) who completed the course in five minutes 51seconds.

South African time trial champion Impey was next up for the hot seat after beating Bookwalter's time by five seconds. Impey’s time of five minutes 46seconds was almost equalled by teammate Damien Howson who came close with the second best provisional time of five minutes 50seconds.

Impey remained in the top spot until Moreno Moser (Cannondale) crossed the line with a time of five minutes 42seconds, only four seconds quicker than Impey. Gorka Izagirre (Movistar) literally went one better than Moser with a time of five minutes 41seconds, pushing Impey into third place.

A close run top three became a close run top ten as Impey slipped further down the standings after strong rides by Reto Hollenstein (IAM-cycling) and Thibaut Pinot (FDJ).

Michael Kwiatkowski (Team-Sky) moved into the hot seat with a time of five minutes 40seconds until Jon Izagirre came in seven seconds faster at five minutes and 33seconds.

By the time last riders were heading out onto the course it had begun to rain heavily making the already wet roads even more dangerous. Albasini crashed on the descent before jumping straight back onto his bike and finishing the course in a time of six minutes and nine seconds.

Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) bettered Kwiatkowski’s time by one second to take the number two spot on the stage. Jon Izagirre’s time was not beaten with the Movistar rider taking the stage victory and the provisional first place on the general classification.

The second day of racing takes place tomorrow with a 166.9kilometre stage from La Chaux-de-Fonds to Moudon.

Tour of Romandie prologue results:

1. Jon Izagirre (Movistar) 00:05:33
2. Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) 00:00:06
3. Michael Kwiatkowski (Team-Sky) 00:00:07
12. Daryl Impey (ORICA-GreenEDGE) 00:00:13

General classification after Prologue:

1. Jon Izagirre (Movistar) 00:05:33
2. Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) 00:00:06
3. Michael Kwiatkowski (Team-Sky) 00:00:07
12. Daryl Impey (ORICA-GreenEDGE) 00:00:13