Impey sprints to seventh on the opening stage of Volta Ciclista a Catalunya

Mon 20 Mar 2017

South African time trial champion Daryl Impey sprinted to seventh place today on the opening stage of Volta Ciclista a Catalunya.

The hilly 178kilometre day featured six categories climbs, but with a breakaway forming early on, the peloton remained mostly in tact over the hills and eventually concluded with a large group sprint.

Similar to last year's edition of the race, Impey handled the climbs well and was able to sprint into the top ten once again for ORICA-SCOTT.

“The main objective for us today was to try and be as economical as we could,” explained sport director Neil Stephens. “The boys got through the stage all relatively unscathed and then we made the most of the opportunity today helping Daryl in the sprint.”

“Obviously there’s some really good sprinters here and Daryl was able to pull of a seventh place sprint which is a good result for him.

“It also put us in the latter teams to start the team time trial tomorrow which is a benefit for us.”

With the team hoping for a solid result in tomorrow's team time trial, Stephens was pleased to see the riders handle themselves well today with the general classification still in mind.

“Today was also good for us to see that Adam Yates is back in good working order," Stephens continued. "He handled today well so now we are looking forward to tomorrow’s stage and the following mouantenous days.”

How it happened:

The riders set off from the coastal town, Calella under bright blue skies and sunshine ready for the opening hilly stage.

Numerous riders tried to break free in the opening kilometres but weren’t given any freedom. It wasn’t until 32kilometres that four riders, Pierre Rolland (Cannondale-Drapac), Murilo Affonso (Brasil), Magno Nazaret (Brasil) and Antonio Nibali (Bahrein Media) finally escaped and rode out to a maxim advantage of three minutes.

With three third category climbs, one seconds category and two tough first category climbs on route to Calella it certainly wasn’t an easy day for the riders.

Eventually the four leaders came back within striking distance and as they headed up the penultimate climb of the stage, the Coll Formic, a further three riders successfully bridged across, swelling the group to seven and hovering in front around 40seconds.

On the long decent Jetse Bol (Manzana Postobon) and Axel Domont (Ag2R La Mondiale) left their breakaway companions who returned quickly to the bunch and the pair extended their lead back out over one minute with 35km to go.

With 25kilometres to go the duo where reeled in after a chase by Lotto Soudal. Damien Howson and Sam Bewley led Impey into position in the final two kilometres, where he finally sprinted to seventh place. 

Volta a Ciclista Catalunya stage one results:

1. David Cimolai (FDJ) 4:28:21
2. Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) ST
3. Kristian Sbaragli (Dimension Data) ST
7. Daryl Impey (ORICA-SCOTT) ST

General classification after stage one:
1. David Cimolai (FDJ) 4:28:11
2. Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) 0:04
3. Kristian Sbaragli (Dimension Data) 0:06
7. Daryl Impey (ORICA-SCOTT) ST 0:10

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