South African Daryl Impey has finished second on the penultimate and queen stage of the Tour Down Under to take the overall lead on count back with one-day remaining.
Crossing the line eight seconds behind Richie Porte (BMC Racing Team), Impey’s third second place of the week paid off as a count back of stage placing gave him the jersey despite being on equal time as Porte.
Richie rules Willunga
It was another schooling by Porte on the famous Willunga climb as he attacked with 1.5km to go taking just Jay McCarthy (Bora-Hansgrohe) with him. A second surge, a classic Porte move at one-kilometre to go, proved too much as he went solo and held on to celebrate as he crossed the finish line.
With defending champion, four-time Willunga stage winner and race favourite Porte up the road, Impey used his experience to play a waiting game and ultimately claim the leader’s jersey.
As others scrambled to chase, Impey surfed on their wheels being pulled closer and closer to Porte before sprinting with everything he had to the line, to minimise the damage and finish just eight seconds adrift.
All day breakaway
In the opening kilometres seven riders, Fumiyuki Beppu (Trek-Segafredo), Nuno Bico (Movistar), Thomas de Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), Nicolas Dlamini (Dimension Data) , Mads Schmidt (Team Katusha Alpecin) Scott Bowden and Zak Dempster (UniSA) established the day’s breakaway.
As they approached Willunga climb for the first time only two riders had the legs to remain out front, hovering one minute ahead before quickly being swallowed by the peloton as the race heated up for the final showdown.
A game of seconds, or less
With one stage remaining Impey sits on equal time with BMC’s Richie Porte. There’s bonus seconds up for grabs that could decide the final podium tomorrow, but it’s a position Mitchelton-SCOTT have been in before with former teammate Simon Gerrans in 2012 (same time) and 2014 (one second). A strong sprint team should hold them in good stead, but it’s not over until you cross the line.
Daryl Impey – 2nd on the stage & Overall Leader
“I can’t believe it, to have the leader’s jersey is just fantastic and to be in Australia and in an Australian team and deliver like this after all of their help is just really amazing.”
“I’ve gone pretty well up Willunga before, maybe not this well, but also I have come here as a bit of a protected rider this year so I think it pays dividends at the end of a race like this. That being said it is always a question mark so when you surprise yourself like today it is special.”
“When Richie attacked I just used everyone there and I knew the guys where still racing for the podium so I just rode my own race. I always knew in the back of my mind I had to do a big sprint to the top and I didn’t actually know where Richie was at the finish, so when I saw the time I knew maybe I could be in the jersey.”
“This is a race I really enjoy so I’m super proud to have the jersey and now we just have to cross the line with it tomorrow.”
Cameron Meyer – Former TDU winner
“It played in to our hands with the headwind and all week with the hot weather playing to Daryl’s advantage and the whole team’s advantage.”
“On the final climb Richie Porte attacked like he does every year and Daryl just needed to limit his losses. He’s been storming all week and he showed he could get up there today.”
“He was guided the whole first lap by Hayman then on the final climb I just had to stay as close as possible and close any gaps if any thing happened. Daryl was just super strong and the whole team has been great all week so this is just a great reward.”
Tour Down Under stage 5 results:
1. Richie Porte (BMC Racing Team)
2. Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:08
3. Tom-Jelte Slagter (Dimension Data) +0:10
Tour Down under general classification after stage 5:
1. Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 18:02
2. Richie Porte (BMC Racing Team) +0:00
3. Tom-Jelte Slagter (Dimension Data) +0:16