Impey goes early & takes third on a hard uphill drag for the 2nd stage in Volta Ciclista a CatalunyaTue 26 Mar 2019
Two-time Tour Down Under winner Daryl Impey fought to third place today, after launching his sprint early on a hard uphill drag for stage two in Volta Ciclista a Catalunya.
The South African led out the sprint in the final 150metres but it was Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) who launched past in the closing metres to deny Impey of the stage win.
A trio escape
The second stage began last yesterday with a breakaway forming in the opening kilometres. Three riders, Marco Minnaard (Wanty Gobert), Jonas Gregaard Wilsly (Astana Pro Team) and Josef Cerny (CCC Team) worked together to create a maximum advantage of seven-minutes over the bunch as they headed over a first and second category climbs on the menu.
The steady chase ahead of the final
By the time the riders completed 140kilometres and passed the finish line in Sant Feliu de Guixols for the first time, the trio's advantage dropped to just 30seconds, before the final catch was eventually made as they crested the top of the final climb, the Alt de Romanya, and things look set for a much predicted bunch sprint.
A hard finish before an uphill drag
Team Astana led the peloton as they barrelled up and over the final small steep climbs and narrow twisty roads through Sant Feliu town with every team trying to get into position towards the front ahead of the final kilometre.
Dion Smith did a big effort, leading the peloton and Impey up the final slopes through the final 800metres which averaged out at 4.5%.
Impey launched from the wheels starting the sprint first, but in the final metres Matthews and Valverde passed the South African champion to steal the top two places with Impey holding on for third place.
Tomorrow the real GC battle begins with the third stage concluding at the top of the ski resort Vallter 2000.
“To be honest I am pretty disappointed, I think the guys were beatable today and I had momentum from coming from behind after Dion did such a great lead out. I took a chance to try and surprise them and I think I got a gap but slightly too early.
“Even though I haven’t been raced that much I have been training really hard and it would have been nice to walk away today with a win. Racing on home roads that gives us a certain advantage and I have ridden his finish quite a few times so I am pretty disappointed in myself knowing that I knew the finish was so hard and going so early but I reacted on instinct and sometimes that’s how you have to race.”
Volta Ciclista a Catalunya Stage 2 Results:
1. Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) 4:09:34
2. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) ST
3. Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST
General Classification after Stage 2:
1. Thomas de Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) 8:23:50
2. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +2:47
3. Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) +2:48
5. Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +2:54
Photos courtesy of Getty Images