Bonus seconds move Impey to 4th overall after stage 4 of the Tour Down Under

Fri 23 Jan 2015

South African Daryl Impey has moved into fourth position overall after a successful day hunting bonus seconds on stage four of the Santos Tour Down Under.

Starting the day in tenth position, 22seconds off the pace, the promise of crosswinds on the stage from Glenelg to Mount Barker had ORICA-GreenEDGE and Impey ready to pounce.

Pounce they did, closing down an early break to allow Impey to take the first intermediate sprint, then putting pressure on the front of the peloton in the final kilometres to diminish the contenders and set the 30-year-old up for the sprint finish.

Second over the line behind Steele Von Hoff (UniSA-Australia) added to the basket, the day’s work gaining a total of nine bonus seconds and moving Impey into fourth overall, 13seconds adrift from Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) who retains the leader’s jersey and four seconds from the podium.

“We wanted to be aggressive today, we wanted grab as many seconds as possible,” Impey said.

“The idea was to go after the bonus seconds but after we saw the first one where we nailed the lead out we decided to put it all on the finish.

“I think it was a good idea and everyone just really rode super.  To get nine seconds today was probably a bit better than everyone expected and hopefully tomorrow we can hang on as much as possible and reassess again.”

The action was hot early on with countless moves attempting to get away from an attentive peloton led by race leader’s BMC Racing.

Eventually, after 20km of aggressive racing, four riders including Michael Hepburn were allowed a stint off the front.

On the hunt for bonus seconds, ORICA-GreenEDGE came to the fore to close the final gap ahead of the first intermediate sprint.   Rewarding the team’s effort Impey claimed the sprint and more importantly the three bonus seconds aligned with it.

Taking advantage of a decrease in intensity immediately following the sprint, three riders escaped off the front in the second breakaway of the day.  The trio was swept up by the run in to the finish, where ORICA-GreenEDGE pushed aggressively to diminish the bunch.

“We had to make up time,” sport director Matt White said of the team’s strategy. “It’s always going to be hard on Willunga to make up anymore time and tomorrow will be more about survival.“

“I think we played our cards near on perfect and again we were very very close to a win. Daryl’s not a pure sprinter and for him to do what he did, he had a lot of help from the guys and I am very proud of them.

“The aim of today was to try to get six seconds back and to get nine means we have jumped over five riders and we are now in fourth position.”

Tomorrow’s penultimate and queen stage from McLaren Vale to Willunga Hill is set to determine the final general classification. The two late classified climbs up Willunga Hill will light up the world best climbers in the overall battle. Two intermediate sprints will be contested 63km and 103km marks.