Impey & Edmondson third & fourth on a shortened stage in Volta CatalunyaThu 23 Mar 2017
South African time trial champion Daryl Impey and track star Alex Edmondson sprinted to third and fourth respectively on today’s stage four in Volta Ciclista a Catalunya.
ORICA-SCOTT pushed the pace on the final second category climb of the day with around 12kilometres to go which helped to reduce the large peloton as they headed downhill towards the finish line for a bunch sprint.
Impey and Edmondson worked well together to position themselves for the finish, taking third and fourth behind the eventual stage winner Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) in Igualada.
“The plan today was to make it hard in the final sections and reduce the bunch,” said sport director Neil Stephens. “If that meant that Alex didn’t make it over the top in the front group then that would mean another chunk of sprinter also didn’t make it and we could still try and sprint with Daryl.”
“We know Daryl is going well and we thought why not give Alex a bit of a chance to sprint today and Daryl was willing to go for him.
“All the boys did a fantastic job, they committed well to the plan. They did it really well, they were able to reduce the bunch down but unfortunately for us there were still a couple of fast guys left in the end.”
Despite not coming away with a stage victory and another third place after Adam Yates' performance yesterday, Stephens was very pleased with the result and the whole team commitment.
“I think for us it was a bit of a victory today,” Stephens continued. “We were just behind two very good sprinters so we can be really happy with that."
“The guys gave it everything they could and finally Daryl couldn’t pass those two riders with Alex behind on his wheel.
“The result was a sign of what form these guys have and I am really happy with all the team and how they carried out the plan.”
How it happened:
With freezing temperatures and snow at the start of the 194kilometre stage, the jury made a sensible and welcomed decision to shortened stage four to 134kilometres.
The teams signed on in the original start town before jumping back on the team bus and driving the race route of gradual downhill roads to the new start in Montferrer. The contrast in weather conditions from snow to pleasant 12degrees and blue skies was a positive and pleasing decision for the riders.
Now just 134kilometres in length, the stage began with a fierce pace and after 40kilometres five riders, Conclaves (Katyusha), Keizer (Lotto-Jumbo), Boni (Emirates), Rubio (Caja-Rural) and Osorio (Postobon) quickly established a maximum advanatge of three minutes.
The five escapees where eventually swallowed up 17kilometres to go as the race headed towards the final climb of the day, the Turo del Puig. ORICA-SCOTT set a hard tempo and the bunch quickly reduced, towards the top numerous riders tried to break free which saw more riders lose contact with the group.
Over the top of the climb four riders gained a small gap as they raced down the twisty descent, but with seven kilometres remaining, they too where reeled in by the fast chasing peloton.
Finding themselves towards the front of the peloton, Impey and Edmondson started their sprint with Impey finishing on to the podium.
Tomorrow the riders face more climbs and a summit finish in Lo Port.
Volta Ciclista a Catalunya stage four results:
1. Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) 3:04:27
2. Davide Cimbali (FDJ) ST
3. Daryl Impey (ORICA-SCOTT) ST
General classification after stage four:
1. Tejay van Gardeen (BMC Racing Team) 13:29
2. Samuel Sanchez (BMC Racing Team) +0:41
3. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) +0:44
8. Adam Yates (ORICA-SCOTT) +1:18
Photos courtesy of ©TDWsport.com