Two in the Eneco Tour Top Ten Overall After Penultimate Day of Racing

Sat 17 Aug 2013

Dubbed by many as a ‘mini Ardennes Classics’, the sixth stage of the Eneco Tour was action-packed and ultimately decisive for the overall contenders. Daryl Impey fought hard for his eighth place finish on the stage to jump up to fifth overall, tied on time with Jan Bakelants in fourth place, 29” behind new race leader Tom Dumoulin (Argos-Shimano).

Pieter Weening protected Impey’s position on the road in the closing kilometres of the race. Not only did his action’s allow Impey to advance on the overall but Weening saw himself move up as well. The Dutchman cracked the top ten, slotting into ninth overall at 1’16 ahead of the final day of racing.

“The plan today was to protect our four riders that ended the time trial yesterday in good position,” said Sport Director Laurenzo Lapage. “Our other four riders would look after Daryl, Pieter, Sebastian [Langeveld] and Jens [Keukeleire] and bring them into the right place before the two local circuits with three times up La Redoute.”

An 11-rider break dominated the early action. Although the escape group contained Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM), who started the day 48” behind overnight race leader Lars Boom (Belkin), the peloton allowed the break to establish a lead beyond seven minutes before beginning to chase.

As the gap tumbled and the local circuit laps loomed, a large crash disrupted the stage. Jens Mouris and Aidis Kruopis were two of the approximately 20 riders who hit the ground.

“Luckily none of our GC guys were involved,” noted Lapage. “Pieter and Daryl were caught behind the crash but Durbo [Luke Durbridge] brought them back. Jens Mouris and Kruopis fell off their bikes but without any real damage.”

The break fractured as attacks and counter-attacks came fast and furious from the bunch. Eventually four riders from the original break – Westra, David Lopez (Sky), Maciej Paterski (Cannondale) and Angel Madrazo (Movistar) – solidified their lead over a small chase group of general classification riders from which Boom had been dropped. Weening and Impey had made the selection.

“It was too bad that Sebastian was on a bad day today,” said Lapage. “It would have been great if we could have kept him in the front group. Sometimes bad days come after good days. That’s just cycling.”

“Luckily, we saw a really great Daryl Impey today,” Lapage continued. “Pieter was the perfect teammate, protecting Daryl in the move.”

The chase group split ahead of the third ascent of La Redoute. Impey made the first chase while Weening was in the second. Impey’s group swept up Westra, leaving three leaders with a dwindling advantage ahead of the chasers.

Lopez managed to hold off the charge from behind as Madrazo and Paterski were overtaken on the line. Impey rolled across the finish in eighth place, 3” behind Lopez.

“We’re obviously very happy with the result today,” said Lopez. “We now have two riders in the top ten. Daryl is in fifth place, tied on time with fourth place and only seconds away from the overall podium. That will be our goal for tomorrow for Daryl, to move up on the overall. Maybe we can move Pieter up the overall, too.”

“Tomorrow will be a hard day, but we’re ready,” Lapage added. “With the support of this great team, I think Daryl can finish on the podium.”