In His Own Words: Daryl Impey Previews GP Ouest FranceThu 29 Aug 2013
ORICA-GreenEDGE will line up for the GP Ouest France on Sunday in the small Breton village of Plouay. On the start line for the team will be former 2010 Plouay winner, Matthew Goss. Joining Goss will be a strong squad who will toe the line to vie for the coveted and valuable World Tour points up for grabs.
Due to late season injuries and visa issues, which necessitated a reshuffling of rosters, the team will be sending seven riders instead of the typical eight. Daryl Impey, one of several options for the team to claim a result come Sunday, tells us in his own words about the one day French race.
Two hundred guys will line up in Plouay for this World Tour race. We’ll do nine laps of a 27km circuit that is a bit lumpy. The climbs themselves are nothing too difficult, but the length of the race itself will be a good test on the legs.
This race is one for the sprinters but not the pure sprinters, although a number of different scenarios could play out. Plouay is more difficult than Vattenfall in that the hills are closer to the finish. This makes it more difficult for chase groups to rejoin the front of the race before the finale. For example, in Hamburg a small group of 30-40 would get over the climb together and then big groups would rejoin because there’s still a long way to go to the finish. That’s unlikely to happen here.
In Plouay, the rouleur or all-around type guy is best suited the course. A sprinter who can climb, like [Daniele] Bennati (Saxo-Tinkoff) or Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky), will have the best chance on the day. Look at the riders who can handle this kind of distance and who still have good form coming from the Tour to do well.
For us, I think there will be a dual leadership role or maybe there will even be three of us who will be protected on race day. We definitely have a few cards to play. A guy like Gossy will probably be saved for the end. [Michael] Albasini has a good shot at a win, too. I’ll be the opportunist. If I find myself in a group with 40 guys without any sprinters near the end, I quite fancy my chances.
The length of Plouay is similar to the World Championships road race, so it will be a good race for the Worlds guys to gauge how they’re going at this distance. The difficulty of Plouay will not match the World’s course, but with us racing multiple laps it will be good Worlds prep.
This will be an important race for me because it will probably be my last road race before Worlds. It’s my last real chance for a win this year in a road race. I’ll go all in for Plouay and then go home for a short break before meeting the team for team time trial training.
The first time I raced Plouay was as an amateur, and I was taken aback by the amazing support this area gives to cycling. There are so many fans, flags and caravans lining the routes.
The race is kind of in the middle of nowhere but all these people come out to watch the race. The circuit format of this race lends itself to big crowds. As a spectator, seeing the race come by several times is more exciting than a quick flash of the peloton in 30 seconds. I think it’s one of the nicest races for spectators to watch all season, and, as a rider, a tough day in the saddle is made a bit more enjoyable when we roll through a sea of noise.
The team is giving me quite a bit of freedom on Sunday. I’ll take the opportunity to go for the win if it’s there, but like every race we’ll race as a team. The goal of the team is to win - it doesn’t matter how or with who.
ORICA-GreenEDGE roster for GP Ouest France: