Superb second place for Impey on stage seven of the Tour de FranceFri 8 Jul 2016
South African Daryl Impey rounded off a great ride in the breakaway on stage seven of the Tour de France today, sprinting to second place for ORICA-BikeExchange as the race hit the Pyrenees.
A solo attack by Stephen Cummings (Dimension-Data) won the stage as Impey more than held his own against the likes of Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) on the first category Col d’Aspin before sprinting past Dani Navarro (Cofidis) for second place.
“I really surprised myself on the climb, I think I went better than expected and I am chuffed with that,” said a happy Impey after the stage.
“When you look who was in the breakaway there was a lot of strong climbers there and I tried to sit on and save myself a little, fortunately I was able to do that and I held onto a good position for the finale.”
A freak accident occurred when the inflatable Flamme Rouge banner collapsed and fell on Adam Yates after he had gained an advantage over the group of favourites by attacking on the descent of the Col d’Aspin.
Thankfully the British rider was not seriously injured will be able to continue the race.
Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) retains the race lead and the yellow jersey ahead of tomorrow’s stage eight.
Sport director Matt White was happy with the result and praised a great a ride by Impey.
“It was an incredible ride by Daryl (Impey) today,” said White. “We had no plan to try and make the breakaway and once the second move of the day went up the road Daryl was well placed ended up producing a great performance.”
“You don’t see many lead out men riding so well in the mountains and competing against world class climbers and former Grand Tour winners. It really was an incredible ride by Daryl.
“It’s a very big mountain stage tomorrow, four very difficult climbs and it will be interesting to see how it plays out.”
How it happened:
The first Pyrenean mountain stage of this year’s Tour de France started with a bang when twelve riders attacked in the first two kilometres and began to develop a small lead.
A fast first hour ensued with the twelve escapees hovering around thirty seconds ahead of the nervous peloton.
The group began to fall apart after 40kilometres and was subsequently swept up by the bunch. New attacks began to spring immediately and 29 riders went clear with 110kilometres to go as the peloton finally sat up and settled down.
The new breakaway group included Impey for ORICA-BikeExchange and somewhat surprisingly the race leader Greg Van Avermaet (BMC). Over five minutes separated the field with 90kilometres left to race.
Twenty kilometres later and the situation was much the same as the 29 leaders sped over the rolling roads towards the never-ending rise of the lower slopes of the Col d’Aspin.
The breakaway group was working well together and also included the likes of Nibali and Cummings. The peloton were being led by Movistar and Team-Sky, with 55kilometres to go the gap was holding at five minutes.
Before tackling the Aspin the riders had to traverse the seven kilometre, category four Cote-de-Caverne, three riders led by Matti Breschel (Cannondale) attacked from the breakaway trying to inject some fresh pace into the escape.
Cummings was the first to bridge across to the Breschel trio with Impey, Van Avermaet and NIbali part of a group of eight chasers very close behind.
With 26kilometres to go and just before the Impey group made the juncture Cummings attacked solo from the front, gaining 35seconds as he hit the first ramps of the Col d’Aspin.
Nibali drove the chasers on with Impey, Van Avermaet, Dani Navarro (Cofidis) and Alex Howes (Cannondale) the only riders able to follow the Italian’s speed onto the first category climb.
Howes fell away two kilometres later followed by Van Avermaet as Nibali unleashed a series of accelerations with Impey and Navarro glued to his wheel.
First over the Aspin was Cummings who began the six-kilometre descent one minute ahead of Navarro and Impey with Nibali now falling off the pace.
Cummings held on for the stage victory with Impey capping off a great ride in second place after sprinting past Navarro.
Tomorrow’s stage eight is the second day in the Pyrenees for the Tour de France, covering 184kilometres and four huge climbs from Pau to Bagneres-de-Louchon.
The stage begins with the Hors category Col du Tourmalet and ends with the category one Col de Peyresorde. Definitely a day for the climbers and the favourites for the general classification.
Tour de France stage seven results:
1. Stephen Cummings (Dimension-Data) 03:51:58
2. Daryl Impey (ORICA-BikeExchange) 00:01:05
3. Dani Navarro (Cofidis) 00:01:05
General classification after stage seven:
1. Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) 34:13.40
2. Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-Quickstep) 00:06:36
3. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) 00:06:38
NB. ORICA-BikeExchange general classification position to be confirmed.