Hat trick of 3rd places for Impey at Cadel Road RaceSun 2 Feb 2020
South African champion Daryl Impey has settled for third place at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race in Geelong this afternoon.
After a dominate performance by his Mitchelton-SCOTT team in the final two laps, the 35-year-old was marked out of the race after two riders escaped in the final kilometres, with Dries Devenyns (Deceuninck-Quickstep) going on to take the victory.
Dry and windy conditions offered the bunch variables to play with early and it didn’t take long for them to be utilised, with the race splitting in the first 20km.
Mitchelton-SCOTT made the front split but, despite almost reaching a one-minute gap, the second group recovered to see the action back together.
Calm before the second storm:
Racing calmed after the regrouping, allowing the Australian wildcard pair of Carter Turnbull and Elliot Schultz to ride out to a sizeable advantage of six minutes.
In the space of just 20km, the race fired up again and the leading duo’s advantage dropped from six minutes to just one.
The pressure from the front of the peloton was once again enough to snap the elastic, with groups scattered across the road.
Much of the race regrouped again and, despite getting within 10seconds of the leaders, the bunch allowed the pair to once again ride away.
As the peloton cross the start/finish line to receive three laps to go, the leading duo still held a 50second advantage.
Mitchelton-SCOTT turned the screws in the final two laps, bursting apart the race on the penultimate climb up Challambra courtesy of Dion Smith. His efforts forced a group of 15-20 riders at the front, Mitchelton-SCOTT with five.
Damien Howson drilled the next lap to hold the advantage of the group from the chasing peloton before Simon Yates attacked on the final ascent of Challambra to whittle the group down even further.
Yates lost touch following his effort and after an attack by Pavel Sivakov and Devenyns it was left to Impey to chase back as his rivals sat on the wheel.
It wasn’t meant to be as Impey sprinted to third place, four seconds behind the lead pair.
Daryl Impey – Third place:
“Third place, again, but we did a great performance. We did exactly as we planned. We wanted to take the race on with two laps to go and the boys did an amazing job.
“They held that gap, we thought everything was pretty good up until that final climb when we lost Yatesy there, then it was a tactical battle.
“I thought the faster guys were going to do some work but I think they were pretty pinned. It’s a shame we didn’t all work together properly in the end, because I think I had the best legs out of the guys there.
“Simon went a bit earlier than expected, but we had to take the race on. A lot of guys were comfortable with where we were at, and we needed to try to whittle that group down. Simon did a great job, it just caught up with him on the last climb.
“That’s bike racing, you go all in and that’s how it is. It’s always a tactical battle, it’s not always the best legs but Dries had good legs and the winner is always right.”
Matt Wilson – Sport Director:
“It was an awesome performance by the team. We had a really specific plan this year, we knew our strengths, and the guys executed it perfectly.
“We were in exactly the position we wanted to be in the final. Simon made a big effort over the top and into the last kicker and just couldn’t recover in time. Daryl was awesome, he rode all the way to the line, I think the other two were basically sitting on him and he still beat them for third, so he was going really well.”
Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race – Men’s Results:
1. Dries Devenyns (Deceuninck-Quickstep) 4:05:49
2. Pavel Sivakov (Team Ineos) ST
3. Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:04
Photos courtesy of Getty Images.