Impey third despite crash and mechanical on opening stage of Tour des Fjords

Wed 27 May 2015

South African Daryl Impey has sprinted to third place in a dramatic opening stage at the Tour des Fjords in Norway today.

Impey was brought down alongside teammate Svein Tuft when a motorbike crashed with 30km to go, the pair working hard to rejoin the peloton on the finishing circuits.

Positioned well into the final two kilometres by Christian Meier and Adam Yates, Impey had the wheel of eventual winner Alexander Kristoff (Team Katusha) only to suffer a mechanical, preventing a full sprint.

“We had Daryl and Svein crash so they had to chase pretty hard to get back on,” sport director Matt Wilson said. “They got back on at the start of the finishing circuits but were pretty pinned and we lost Svein because of that.”

“Over the climb it was OK but the second time it split up and a group of about 30 got over the top. We had all our guys in the front and Adam and Christian did a really good job driving that group until two kilometres to go.

“Daryl had a really good wheel in Kristoff but unfortunately had a mechanical and was stuck in the position he was in the sprint and finished third.”

Pleasingly both Impey and Tuft appear to have suffered no injuries as a result of the fall, but an ill Magnus Cort lost time.

“Magnus has been sick last week so we had the plan today to ride for Daryl and see how Magnus was,” Wilson explained. “He wasn’t too good at all once he hit the circuits so he just rode in.”

“Given Daryl’s good result we will definitely keep riding for him. This is a race that will be decided by just seconds, so now Daryl is on the board with some time bonuses, we’ll definitely be concentrating on him.”

How it unfolded

Adrian Gjolberg (Team and Ronan Van Zandbeek (Cyclingteam Join’s De Rijke) were the first two riders to escape shortly after the flag.

Etienne van Empel (Team Roompot Oranje Peloton), Reroen Meijers (Rabobank Development Team), Andreas Erland and Niklas Gustavsson (Team Tre Berg-Bianchi) joined the pair to form the day’s six-man break.

They reached a maximum four-minute advantage after 40km of racing but an attentive Team Katusha sat at the head of the bunch and reduced it to a comfortable range.

Gijs van Hoecke (Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise) bridged across to the move to add some temporary resistance to the peloton but is was all back together in the final 10km.