Impey sixth in Sud Ardeche French openerSat 28 Feb 2015
South African Daryl Impey has finished sixth at the La Classic Sud Ardèche, the first of two French one-day races to kick off the European season this weekend.
Impey was amongst a breakaway of 14 riders initiated in the second last lap of the finishing circuit, before two riders escaped on the final lap to take it to the line. Eduardo Sepúlveda (Bretagne-Séché) claimed the victory.
“It was on the second last lap that all the action started,” sport director David McPartland explained. “Daryl went away over the top and on the decent and the race split with about 15 riders getting off the front.
“Straight away they had 20seconds which extended to over a minute when they went through the start/finish line so we knew with one lap to go, that the winner was coming out of that group.
“We were riding for Daryl so that situation was good for us. He was isolated a little bit, it would have been good to have another one of us present just to support him there, but it was still a good situation.”
Sepúlveda and Julien Loubet (Team Marseille 13 KTM) snuck off the front up the main climb of the final lap and games within the group behind saw them survive to the line.
“There was a bit too much catch and mouse when they came off the descent the last time,” McPartland said. “Everyone was looking at each other and there wasn’t a full chase at all.”
“When they finally got organised with ten kilometres to go, all of a sudden the gap went from over 30seconds to 16seconds and even up until the last two kilometres, the gap came down to as close as six seconds.
“Daryl had a lot of input into that but once it got that close, everyone in the group stopped and that was the moment they went away and held on.
“In the grand scheme of things Daryl has done a really good job to do all of that and finish sixth.”
The same eight-man line up will finish the weekend with the 201km La Drôme Classic tomorrow.
“Tomorrow is another day and the guys will have the first race of the season shock out of their system from today,” McPartland said.
“The final tomorrow is super hard, very hilly with three or four climbs in the last 40km and we have the guys who can race well in that terrain.”