Another top ten for Impey on stage three of the Criterium du Dauphine

Wed 8 Jun 2016

South African Daryl Impey sprinted to seventh place on stage three of the Criterium du Dauphine today, with ORICA-GreenEDGE teammate Adam Yates retaining seventh on the general classification.

A fast and lumpy stage three saw a breakaway trio for the best part of 140kilometres before a late attack by Fabio Aru (Astana) won the stage followed by a frantic bunch sprint for second place.

Impey fought well in the speeding pack as it closed in on Aru in the finishing straight with the ORICA-GreenEDGE rider again coming close in a sprint on French soil.

2014 Tour of Turkey winner Yates rode well throughout the stage and formed part of the group who tried to break clear before Aru escaped. The Briton remains in seventh overall, 31seconds behind race leader Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) with four more days to go.

Sport director Laurenzo Lapage was satisfied with how the stage went and pleased with the overall performance of the team.

“The whole team rode very well today,” said Lapage. “We kept Adam (Yates) up there in a good position and he read the attacks well on the final climb and made sure we didn’t lose any time."

“For sure Daryl (Impey) is getting closer in the sprints, he battled hard after some good work by the guys in the final few kilometres and for the second time this week finished in the top ten.

“We are really satisfied with our position ahead of the real mountain stages at the weekend. Adam has been riding very intelligently, conserving energy where he can and we saw again today how alert he is.

“Tomorrow is definitely the last chance for the sprinters, it could be a day for the breakaway but without any serious climbs it looks probable that the stage will end in a sprint finish.”

How it happened:

Another warm and sunny morning welcomed the riders to the start of stage three in Boen-sur-Lignon with the action starting straight from the flag drop.

An early attack by three riders, including Niki Terpstra (Etixx-Quickstep) and Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), broke clear within the first five kilometres and began to establish a growing advantage.

Despite the efforts of the Tinkoff led peloton, the trio had developed a lead of over six minutes after 25kilometres.

Giant-Alpecin and Katusha started to take control at the front of the peloton after 40kilometres of racing with the gap to the three escapees gradually reducing.

Thirty kilometres later and the advantage of the Terpstra trio had fallen to under three minutes on the long, dragging incline towards Saint-Bonnet-le-Froid.

The lumpy, undulating parcours was making life difficult for the chasing peloton as the lead of the breakaway kept on reducing, increasing and reducing again as the race headed into the final 70kilometres.

The peloton were now chasing with intent and were just over a minute behind when the Terpstra and De Gendt group swelled to four riders with 50kilometres to go as Cyril Gaultier (AG2R-Mondiale) bridged across to the leaders.

The leaders were caught inside the final 25kilometres as the peloton raced towards the last climb of the day, the Cote de Secheras.

Tony Martin (Etixx-Quickstep) was the first to attack on the Secheras climb. Gaining a 20second advantage, the German was pursued by Aru and Pierre Rolland (Cannondale).

Martin crested the climb alone with 20kilometres left to race and the peloton still 20seconds behind. Aru, Rolland and Tsgabu Grmay (Lampre-Merida) were still trying to chase Martin down as another attack sprung out of the bunch.

The attack formed the next breakaway with the group including Yates for ORICA-GreenEDGE and Mikel Landa (Team-Sky). A few hundred metres later they had caught Martin, Aru and the rest with peloton only ten seconds further back.

As the Yates group was about to be caught by the bunch with 13kilometres to go Aru surged clear. The Astana rider desperately pushing on alone along the rolling roads towards the finish.

A crash on a tight corner of a short but technical descent disrupted the chase of the bunch enabling Aru to stretch his lead out by a couple more seconds

Aru just managed to hold on, crossing the line a few metres ahead of the unfolding bunch sprint for second place. South African Impey was in the thick of the action for ORICA-GreenEDGE, finishing seventh after a hectic, hard fought finale.

Stage four takes place tomorrow and covers 176kilometres from Tain-l’Hermitage to Belley. Tomorrow is the last stage with the potential for a sprint finish before the race hits the big mountains on Friday.

However, it wouldn’t be the Criterium du Dauphine without some climbs and tomorrow’s parcours is filled with short, sharp inclines and fast technical descents before the finish.

Criterium du Dauphine stage three results:

1. Fabio Aru (Astana) 04:19:54
2. Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) 00:00:02
3. Niccolo Bonifazio (Trek-Segafredo) 00:00:02
7. Daryl Impey (ORICA-GreenEDGE) 00:00:02

General classification after stage three:

1. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) 13:13:10
2. Richie Porte (BMC) 00:00:06
3. Christopher Froome (Team-Sky) 00:00:13
7. Adam Yates (ORICA-GreenEDGE) 00:00:31