Impey climbs to 15th place in Clasica San SebastiánSat 4 Aug 2018
South African champion Daryl Impey finished in 15th place today for Mitchelton-SCOTT in the lengthy Clasica San Sebastián.
The Criterium du Dauphine stage winner started the final climb alongside local Basque rider Mikel Nieve and Kiwi Jack Bauer, before a small select group attacked away to contest the final race victory.
Impey fought hard to stay in contention over the top of the final climb, but after a strong attack by Julian Alaphilippe (Quickstep-Floors) and Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) the race was decided.
With 228kilometres to cover, the first breakaway of the day formed in the opening 15km and a relaxed peloton allowed the six escapees to ride out to over a seven minute advantage.
After the first ascent of the category one climb, the Jaizikbel, a 7.6km climb averaging 5.8%, the leading group was reeled back in to two minutes and 30seconds.
Action on the Jaizikbel
The second time up the Jaizikbel after 177km of racing, attacks flew from the peloton which saw the breakaway split. Finally as the peloton settled down one rider from the origional breakaway, Cyril Barthe (Murias), led the race solo and hovered 30seconds ahead.
Team Sky lead the steady chase and with 37km reamining the group was back together again but immediately more attacks came as the riders barreled towards the important penultimate climb, the Arkale.
A huge crash with around 20km to go saw many race favourites go down and a small lead group including the three Mitchelton-SCOTT riders led into the final climb.
The final battle
Bauer worked to put teammates Impey and Nieve in position towards the front of the reduced group but with a fast pace into the bottom of the climb, another crash saw riders lose momentum at a crucial moment as the road began to go up.
Attacks came immediately and it was the duo of Mollema and Alaphillipe that successfully rode away and were able to survive all the way to the line to contest the victory.
"It’s actually my first time at the race so I didn’t really know what to expect other than a vertical climb at the end inside the last ten kilometres.
"There was a massive crash and somehow we all avoided that and we started the final climb with myself, Daryl and Mikel together. Obviously that climb suited their characteristics a little bit better than myself so we did what we could to position into that last climb.
"Again there was another crash coming into the climb, and we lost position a little bit there and I think they didn’t see the front of the race again. A group of six snuck away on the climb and sometimes that’s how it goes, with no cohesion in the bunch behind they let them slip away.
"I personally felt better than expected, I think coming out of a brutal race like the Tour de France you don’t have much punch or zip left but diesel in the legs, so it was nice to get to the line today."
Clasica San Sebastian results
1. Julian Alaphilippe (Quickstep-Floors) 6:03
2. Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) ST
3. Anthony Roux (Groupama-FDJ) ST
15. Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:51
Photos courtesy of Getty Images