A day in the breakaway for Docker and ninth in the sprint for Impey on Dauphine stage one

Mon 6 Jun 2016

South African time trial champion Daryl Impey sprinted to ninth place on stage one of the Criterium du Dauphine today with ORICA-GreenEDGE teammate Mitch Docker animating the day’s earlier breakaway.

Impey was led out into a great position by Jens Keukeleire going into the final kilometre of the race, after excellent work by ORICA-GreenEDGE in the build up to the sprint.

The finish saw Impey just miss out on a higher placing after pushing hard against the pure sprinters and eventual stage winner, Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis).

Docker is almost back to full strength after his crash at Paris-Roubaix and spent over 150kilometres in a two man breakaway. Briton Adam Yates rolled in with the rest of the general classification top ten and remains in eighth overall.

Sport director Laurenzo Lapage was happy with the team’s performance on stage one.

“I’m really happy for Mitch (Docker),” said Lapage. “It was very good for him to get out there in the breakaway today, he was out there all day. You can see he is getting stronger everyday."

“The team did a great job when the race came back together, everyone knew what they were supposed to do and we managed to get Daryl (Impey) into a really good position for the sprint.

“All the general classification guys finished together,” continued Lapage. “It’s important to try and conserve energy on days like today and try not to lose time with the tough stages to come."

“Tomorrow will be another interesting day. The four climbs come before the finish which levels out and we have guys like Daryl and Simon Gerrans who are able to get over those climbs and contest the sprint.”

How it happened:

A beautiful sunny morning welcomed riders to the start of stage one in Cluses with 186kilometres and four short categorised climbs ahead.

Docker of ORICA-GreenEDGE formed the day's early breakaway by following an attack by Federik Backaert (Wanty-Groupe-Gobert). After 30kilometres of racing the duo had built up a lead of over five minutes on the peloton.

The stage profile suited the sprinters teams who were happy to let Docker and Backaert stretch their lead past six minutes with 60kilometres covered.

All four of the day’s climbs came in the first 130kilometres of the stage with the final 50kilometres virtually pan flat all the way to the finish.

With 100kilometres remaining the lead of the Docker duo had begun to fall, now standing at four minutes.

Katusha and Cofidis were taking on the lion’s share of the work at the front of the peloton. As the speed of the chase increased the advantage of Docker and Backaert continued to diminish, dropping to under three minutes with 60kilometres to go.

The breakaway was caught with 15kilometres left to race and the battle for position at the front of the bunch began.

ORICA-GreenEDGE were being led into formation by Christian Meier as Team-Sky and Tinkoff set the pace as the tension increased approaching the sprint.

Into the last five kilometres and the bunch was strung out with Keukeleire and Impey right in the mix on ninth and tenth wheels respectively.

Keukeleire dropped Impey off with one kilometre to go and the ORICA-GreenEDGE rider battled hard at the front of the sprint to maintain position.

Bouhanni crossed the line first with Impey finishing in a very respectable ninth place against some of the world’s best pure sprinters.

Tomorrow’s stage two is a medium mountain stage and covers 168kilometres from Creches-sur-Salone to Chalmazel-Jeansagniere. The profile includes two second-category climbs and two third-category climbs before the finish in the Loire town of Chalmazel-Jeansagniere.


Criterium du Dauphine stage one results:

1. Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) 04:27:53
2. Jens Debusschere (Lotto-Soudal) ST
3. Sam Bennet (Bora-Argon18) ST
9. Daryl Impey (ORICA-GreenEDGE) ST


General classification after stage one:

1. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) 04:39:29
2. Richie Porte (BMC) 00:00:06
3. Christopher Froome (Team-Sky) 00:00:13
8. Adam Yates (ORICA-GreenEDGE) 00:00:31