Impey sprints to 7th on the opening stage of Volta Ciclista a CatalunyaMon 25 Mar 2019
Dual South African champion Daryl Impey sprinted to seventh place today for Mitchelton-SCOTT on day one of Volta Ciclista a Catalunya after Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) stayed away for 60km to claim a solo victory into Calella.
It was almost impossible for the peloton to contest the stage win after De Gendt jumped away from the day’s original breakaway and held a healthy lead of over four minutes with mostly descending roads left to the finish line.
Six get away
In the early kilometres of the race, six-riders jumped away from the bunch and hovered for most of the stage around three minutes ahead.
As the peloton headed over each of the climbs on the day’s menu, the leaders continued ahead until the penultimate climb, the Coll Formic, when Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) launched away from the breakaway and led the peloton by three and a half minutes.
On a lengthy descent, De Gendt was able to open up his advantage even further over the peloton to four and a half minutes. Behind Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Egan Bernal (Team Sky) contested the minor placings for bonus seconds in the next intermediate sprint as they crept towards the final climb of the stage.
Esteban Chaves headed towards the front of the peloton to keep the tempo up alongside other teams but with no real hurry in the bunch, the chase wasn’t enough and De Gendt continued to hold a sizeable lead as the rest of the breakaway was swallowed up.
The sprint for third
In the closing five kilometres, Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) took an opportunity and also jumped away from the peloton, holding off the sprint to take second place with De Gednt stealing the victory, crossing the line two minutes 42seconds ahead of the peloton.
Dion Smith worked to position Impey coming into the final with the sprint for third place hotly contested, the Tour Down Under winner finally finishing in seventh-place and into ninth place on the general classification.
“It was a tough day, I don’t think anyone thought that De Gendt was going to be able to pull of the ride he did. Hats of to him, he did one of those freakish rides but it really wasn’t up to us to chase today, there’s a lot of fast guys here and overall the GC is a bigger target.
“We were willing to have a crack at the stage if the opportunity was there but that opportunity didn’t come and then in the final Dion (Smith) and I were just trying to work on the sprint so we tried to go for the minor placings and hopefully we will get a few more chances this week.
“I don’t think De Gendt will be able to hold on to the overall victory, there’s a lot of climbers here, the field is really strong and we have a lot of big mountains to pass.”
Volta Ciclista a Catalunya - Stage 1 Results:
1. Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) 4:14:32
2. Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) +2:38
3. Grega Bole (Team Bahrain-Merida) +2:42
7. Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 2:42
General Classification after Stage 1:
1. Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) 4:14:16
2. Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) 2+:48
3. Grega Bole (Team Bahrain-Merida) +2:54
9. Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +2:58
Photos courtesy of Getty Images