Impey close second after Kluge makes break on stage three of Tour of Slovenia

Fri 15 Jun 2018

South African champion Daryl Impey was narrowly pipped on the line for the win on stage three of the Tour of Slovenia today after Mitchelton-SCOTT teammate Roger Kluge spent the afternoon in the break.

Having been part of a chase group over the day’s final categorised climb, Impey rode it smart with the help of Slovenian champion Luka Mezgec to challenge on the tough two-kilometre uphill finish, hitting the front of the race with 100m to go only to be passed on the line by stage winner Rigoberto Uran (EF – Drapac).

Roger animates race:
After multiple attempts to form the breakaway, the attentive bunch eventually let sprint duo Kluge and Marcel Kittel ride off the front. 

With a tough finale, not suited to the characteristics of Kluge and his breakaway companion, the peloton relaxed and allowed them to ride out to over five minutes advantage before they eventually took chase.

Once the intensity in the bunch re-established, the margin reduced quickly and on the lower slopes of the day’s hardest climb, with 22.5km to go, the race was back together.

Hanging on:
As the general classification teams showed their interested in shaking up proceedings ahead of tomorrow’s Queen stage, it was a matter of holding on for Impey. 

He was paced for much of the climb by Mezgec, almost making contact with the front group before the favourites attacked over the top and he found himself slightly distanced again.

The Chase:
Matej Mohoric (Team Bahrain-Merida) demonstrated his superior descending skills as he hit the front of the race down the descent with multiple chase groups behind. 

Impey started in the second chase group, before it merged with the first chase group at the bottom of the descent. As the chase began to hesitate in the valley towards the finish, a third chase group, with Mezgec in tow, also linked up.

Mezgec went straight to the front and drove the chase alone for Impey until the two kilometre climb to the line began.

The Final Climb:
Mohoric started the final climb in front as multiple attackers leapt out from the chase. 

They all began to tire as the general classification climbers began to show their strength on the terrain, and with Impey smartly sitting in their wheels, they found themselves back at the front of proceedings inside the final kilometre. 

Impey held his final push for as long as possible as he closed a narrow gap and hit the front in the final 100metres only to be pipped on the line by Uran.

Daryl Impey - 2nd on stage:
“The plan was to try and win the stage with me. No one knew how hard they would race the final climb so we hid away as much as we could. 

“The big climb was pretty intense and I was happy to get across in the last kilometre. Luka came back in the final five kilometres and did a massive pull until two kilometres to go which brought it back together for us. It was a great ride by him.

“I just hung on as best I could and gave it everything 300m to go, everyone was maxed out.  Unfortunately Uran beat me but I was in great company and it’s the first real uphill finish I have contested in.

“I am happy with my condition and it’s great to be around the mark, especially with the Tour around the corner.”

Roger Kluge:
“It was a fun day, I could enjoy it with Marcel. We are in the same class… weight class… the heavy-weight class.” 

“It wasn’t the plan to get away with just one rider, it’s always better to have three, four or five guys more, but we wanted to make the day hard from the beginning ass a team and make it hard for Lotto to chase. 

“From there we knew it would be a long day, but we settled in the two of us and it was a good training day, never above threshold.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve been in a breakaway but like this it’s a little bit easier on the climbs. In the bunch it’s always harder and I had good company in Marcel. It’s a pity they didn’t let us get to the climb with five-minutes because I had a little bit left in the tank and thought with an advantage I could go harder on the climb and even get over, but they came close by the bottom.”

Tour of Slovenia – Stage 3 Results:
1. Rigoberto Uran (EF – Drapac) 4:00:56
2. Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST
3. Primoz Roglic (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) +0:04

Tour of Slovenia – General Classification after Stage 3:
1. Rigoberto Uran (EF - Drapac)

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.