Tour Down Under: Final Stage

South African Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott) has created history, becoming the first male to win back-to-back Tour Down Under titles with a third-place finish on the final stage.

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Tour Down Under: Final Stage

South African Daryl Impey has created history today, becoming the first male to win back-to-back Tour Down Under titles with a third-place finish on the final stage. After winning on countback in 2018, Impey finished behind Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) and Wout Poels (Team Sky) up Willunga today to claim a more convincing 13-second victory in 2019.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

The 34-year-old’s performance wraps up an incredibly successful fortnight for Mitchelton-SCOTT after world championship silver medallist Amanda Spratt won her third consecutive Women’s Tour Down Under title last Sunday.

Seven riders immediately surged ahead of the bunch at the start of racing as the peloton, led by Trek-Segafredo, EF Education First and Astana Pro Team, were content to let them take the intermediate sprints and bonus seconds on offer. They sat at a steady three-minute advantage through the initial laps, but as they started to climb Willunga for the first time, it was down under two minutes and quickly diminishing. As soon as the road went up, they splinted, and the peloton had them in sight.

Team Sky hit the front of the bunch from the bottom of the first ascent, putting pressure on those behind. It was enough to shell race leader Patrick Bevin (CCC Team), who was brave to start today’s stage whilst clearly hindered by the injuries of yesterday’s crash, and pull the remnants of the breakaway back. Over the top, Team Sky had two riders with a small advantage, but they sat up and waited for the surviving chase group of around 60riders.
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It was Team Sky who drove the pace once again on the final ascent. Porte reacted with 1.5km remaining, his usual launch pad, and quickly bridged across to Wout Poels (Team Sky) who was then alone. Behind, Michael Woods (EF Education First) and Chris Hamilton (Team Sunweb) were the first reactors, but Impey stayed calm and sat on the wheel of teammate Lucas Hamilton, who rode beyond his 22-years.

Knowing his strengths, Impey used the final, flatter 500m to launch from Hamilton’s wheel and gain metres to finish just behind, on the same time as, Porte and Poels to secure the back-to-back victory. After 20 years as a rider, the professional peloton saw Mathew Hayman ride his final race this afternoon, at a home race close to his heart. Whilst his 2016 Paris-Roubaix victory, on his 15th attempt and six weeks after a broken arm, will go down as his biggest victory, Hayman’s impact on the peloton went beyond what a result’s sheet can explain.

A true professional and the ultimate teammate, the 40-year-old’s final ride was testimony to his character as he fought to regain contact after the first climb and work through the final lap before positioning Impey perfectly at the bottom of the final climb. Hayman will continue to work in a variety of roles at Mitchelton-SCOTT for the remainder of 2019.
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Daryl Impey: “I took the pressure but having the faith of the team goes a long way. We saw the boys committed right to the end. I couldn’t believe they (Porte and Poels) were that close so I just dug deep and went for it. That’s special to go back to back. I never dreamed to come here and win twice in a row. Every year we come here with strong ambitions. I knew the competition is always tough. I just believed in myself, and it was just fantastic to pull it off.

“Yesterday we really dug deep, and we took some valuable seconds. We knew we had some seconds on the climbing group. The stage win gave us a lot of momentum, and we started to believe we had a chance to win the race. The whole team rode great. The guys picked me up during the week. Last year I was a lot more ecstatic because I felt like I made a big step. I feel like I am maturing more as a rider, and that’s so exciting.

“I want to dedicate the win to him (Mathew Hayman). He’s been a fantastic team mate, a lot of my victories have come with Maty. To let him go out this way, we were going to celebrate his career anyway tonight, but to win the race overall it’ll be a double celebration.”

Mathew Hayman: “I had very mixed emotions (up the final climb). I was off at the bottom by myself, having a bit of a wave and started getting a bit of a frog in my throat, and then all of a sudden my mind was back on to the race and how Daryl was doing. Next minute I had three teammates, (Alex) Edmondson, Heppy (Michael Hepburn) and Durbo (Luke Durbirdge) with me and it came over the radio that he’d won and that took my mind off the retirement and reminded me this is why I do this.”

“It’s a big event, we raced all week and we needed every single one of us to be on. I couldn’t think of a better way to go out, not just because we won but how we raced. My whole family was on the hill, I didn’t know they were going to be out there, and that was really special. They are all quite emotional, but very special to have everyone come to see your last day of work.

“I just held it together but probably just because I was excited about the win for Daryl and that takes the mind off it. I really reckon it’ll be in a couple of week’s time before it registers. It’s been an emotional high all week. We needed everyone on, every day there was a plan, things to think about, so although I was being pulled in a few extra directions than normal, the number one priority was racing and it’s so nice to be able to race to the death.”

Richie Porte: Knowing that the overall victory would take a miracle, focused on the stage, and knew precisely when and where to launch his winning move on Willunga Hill. When he made the attack, only Wout Pauls (Sky) answered, albeit briefly. Porte opened the gap he needed and headed for his sixth straight victory on Willunga, as Poels and Impey held strong behind to complete the final podium.

“The stage was probably easier for me than it ever has been because I was in a good position. But when Kenny Ellisonde did a fantastic ride there for Wout Poels, that was hard to have to take it up myself. I had to gauge my effort. To be honest, I thought I’d had it there, but when I heard (director) Kim Andersen on the radio telling me that everyone behind me was suffering too, it gave me a second wind. But I tell you what, the last 300 meters were probably the longest 300 meters, it really hurt. But it was a sweet victory.”

“It’s always good to start with a new team, and they have faith in you like that,” continued Porte. “But here, you have to climb better than the sprinters, and then sprint better than the climbers – it’s not a race that really suits me. It did two years ago with the Paracombe climb as well. I think it’s just nice to get a victory, the team was absolutely fantastic out there today.”

“It was a really enjoyable week. Luca Guercilena, the boss (Trek-Segafredo’s General Manager), didn’t put any pressure on me. They were resigned to the fact it was going to be a hard race to win, especially when they are going for bonus sprints like that yesterday, then it’s not an easy one for me.

Patrick Bevin: Battered and bruised, the race leader showed resilience and determination on the final stage of the Santos Tour Down Under to push through injuries sustained in a crash on stage five to finish the race and win the sprint classification. X-rays and CT scans on Saturday evening confirmed that Bevin did not sustain any fractures or internal injuries, but a bruised hip and ribs, and multiple contusions were always going to make for a tough day of racing.

Surrounded by his teammates on the three laps of flat terrain, Bevin was able to sit in the peloton out of trouble but as soon as the pace was lifted on the first ascent of Willunga Hill, he was unable to maintain contact. Bevin didn’t give up and with the help of Joey Rosskopf and Łukasz Owsian, he pushed through the pain and powered on up the final ascent where huge cheers greeted the New Zealander as he crossed the line.

With a stage win, second place, fifth place, and multiple points picked up in intermediate sprints, Bevin started the day with enough points to win the sprint classification and secured that win by finishing stage six. Although Bevin was unable to keep the ochre jersey, the New Zealand time trial champion’s dominance from stage one, stage win, aggressive style of racing, and courageous battle today signalled his intentions for the season, with two wins to his name already.

“I take the Ziptrack sprint jersey away from the race as a nice result for the week’s work. Obviously, it’s tough to touch down yesterday and watch my work evaporate on the GC but that’s bike racing. There are no guarantees. We take a lot of positives out of the race and look forward to the next one. I think someone must have told the crowd that I was Australian today as I had so many fans around the course. I had a lot of support. I had a great time here, an absolute blast coming here and racing from kilometer zero and I plan on sticking to that all year. I’m going to go out and scrap for everything all year. This race really only sets a precedent for what’s ahead.”

“I’m a bit beat up, a bit sore. Crashes are a part of racing and it’s such a shame to do all that and have it come tumbling down. But, there will be another race and if nothing else, I’ll be back at the Tour Down Under next year ready to roll my sleeves up and box on again. I was very sore to start with and then I didn’t feel too bad once we got rolling. Honestly, I was entertaining the though of getting around. I had nothing to lose and I was going to go out and just hang on. But, we started fighting on the run up to the climb and I was in the red there, I was in trouble. I tried to regain my composure as we hit the climb and push on, but I couldn’t do it. It’s a pretty awful feeling to watch the race ride up the road. Until a lap to go, I kind of still thought I could win the race. I’ll be back here again going for the time bonuses and putting it to the little guys and we’ll see how it plays out next time.”

Final Stage
1 PORTE Richie TFS AUS B:10″ 00″
2 POELS Wout SKY NED B:06″ ‘ ‘
3 IMPEY Daryl MTS RSA B:04″ ‘ ‘
4 DENNIS Rohan TBM AUS 03″
6 *HAMILTON Christopher SUN AUS 10″
7 WOODS Michael EF1 CAN 15″
8 ULISSI Diego UAD ITA 17″
9 SLAGTER Tom-Jelte TDD NED ‘ ‘
12 *GIBBONS Ryan TDD RSA 20″
14 POZZOVIVO Domenico TBM ITA ‘ ‘
15 *POGACAR Tadej UAD SLO ‘ ‘
16 BENNETT George TJV NZL ‘ ‘

70. Luke Rowe
75. James Knox
93. Ryan Mullen
98. Adam Blythe
105. Owain Doull
129. Alex Dowsett

1 IMPEY Daryl MTS RSA 20h30’42” 00″
2 PORTE Richie TFS AUS 20h30’55” 13″
3 POELS Wout SKY NED 20h30’59” 17″
4 SANCHEZ GIL Luis Leon AST ESP 20h31’01” 19″
5 DENNIS Rohan TBM AUS 20h31’08” 26″
6 HAMILTON Christopher SUN AUS 20h31’15” 33″
7 WOODS Michael EF1 CAN 20h31’20” 38″
8 *GUERREIRO Ruben TKA POR 20h31’22” 40″
9 ULISSI Diego UAD ITA ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘
10 DEVENYNS Dries DQT BEL ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘
11 *GIBBONS Ryan TDD RSA 20h31’25” 43″
12 BENNETT George TJV NZL ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘
13 *POGACAR Tadej UAD SLO ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘
14 POZZOVIVO Domenico TBM ITA ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘
15 POLANC Jan UAD SLO 20h31’35” 53″
16 VAN BAARLE Dylan SKY NED ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘
17 SLAGTER Tom-Jelte TDD NED 20h31’43” 01’01”
18 *HINDLEY Jai SUN AUS 20h31’48” 01’06”
19 *HAMILTON Lucas MTS AUS 20h32’00” 01’18”
20 *O’CONNOR Ben TDD AUS 20h32’09” 01’27”


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