Fifth place for Impey on a challenging final stage of Volta Catalunya

Sun 27 Mar 2016

South African time trial champion Daryl Impey had a well fought battle on the final stage of Volta a Catalunya to finish in fifth place.

The action-packed finishing circuits around Montjuic saw Aleksey Tsatevich (Katusha) take the stage victory in the WorldTour race. 

Sport director Neil Stephens said the team were motivated for one final shot at success despite the final stage not being the most suited on paper. 

"After yesterday was a bit of a disappointment we really wanted to make amends," said Stephens. "Even though the race circuit was a little bit too hard for our capacity, we thought it's the last stage so let's give it everything."

"The main thing of the day was to give it the best shot, normally it would probably be too much of a hard stage but we gave it everything we could with Daryl finishing in fifth place. It's certainly credit to him and hats of to the boys they all rode really well.

Stephens praised ORICA-GreenEDGE's efforts throughout the week-long race and although the team didn't come away with a victory it was a fight to the very end.

"We are walking away from the Tour of Catalunya with a bitter sweet feeling," Stephens said. "Although we know the boys are going really good and we know they have tried really hard, we are walking away with empty hands."

"In Gerrans' case it's a matter of making sure he's going really good for the next races and for Impey, he's just about to enlarge his family, so he won't race for a little while. So we thought why not go as deep as we can with him.

"Damien Howson is battling with the same virus that Christian Meier has got, so hopefully those two boys and the others will recover for the Tour of the Basque country and be ready to fight again."

How it happened:

A shorter stage welcomed the riders for the final day of racing in Volta a Catalunya. The riders completed a 80kilometre loop which include one second and one third category climb before the entered Barcelona city centre for eight hard, hilly laps around Montjuic. 

The pace was high for the first kilometres and an intermediate sprint early on saw the general classification riders battle for extra bonus seconds. Shortly after a breakaway of 12 riders broke free and established a gap of over three minutes.

The escapees entered the finishing circuits maintaining their lead around the short 6.5kilometre laps. Tinkoff decided to set a rapid pace on the front as the lined out peloton weaved its way around the circuit.

Mohoric (Lampre-Merida) made a break for it, riding away solo and successfully maintaining his lead around the first few laps. On the steep climb with around 20kilometres to go Fabio Aru (Astana) made his effort to bridge across to the leading solo rider, shortly after Louis Verbaeke (Lotto-Soudal) and Warren Barguil (Team Giant-Alpecin) joined him.

The trio opened up a one-minute lead over the whittled down peloton and headed towards the scattered breakaway remains ahead. Back in the main bunch riders tried to attack each time on the climb.

Impey and Gerrans sat comfortably in the reduced bunch but now with 14 riders spread out ahead of them a furious pace was being set to close in on the leaders with two laps remaining. 

On the final time up the climb on the last lap Gerrans led the chase, with less than 30seconds between the front riders and the main peloton. Finally, the groups all came together in the remaining kilometres, save two riders who held on to a slight gap to contest for victory.

Aleksey Tsatevich (Katusha) took the race win with Impey finishing in a respectable fifth place.

Volta Catalunya stage seven results:

1. Aleksey Tsatevich (Katusha) 3:13:33
2. Primoz Roglic (Lotto-Jumbo) ST
3. Jarlinson Pantano (IAM Cycling) +0:14
5. Daryl Impey (ORICA-GreenEDGE) +0:14

Final general classification results:

1. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) 30:50:19
2. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) +0:07
3. Daniel Martin (Etixx-Quickstep) +0:17
48. Esteban Chaves (ORICA-GreenEDGE) +20:09