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In the final stage of the Tour of Alberta, Impey beat Anderson and Navardauskas in a sprint from a small group and with 10 bonus seconds, he took the overall win, 1 second ahead of previous leader Dumoulin

Photo: Sirotti

DARYL IMPEY

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ORICA-SCOTT

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RAMUNAS NAVARDAUSKAS

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TOM DUMOULIN

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TOUR OF ALBERTA

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07.09.2014 @ 23:51 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEDGE) got the best possible return to the professional peloton when he took the overall victory in the Tour of Alberta by winning the final stage. Having been given an excellent lead-out, he won a sprint from a 40-rider group by holding off Ryan Anderson (Optum) and Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Sharp) and scored 10 bonus seconds that allowed him to win the race 1 seconds ahead of previous leader Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Shimano).

 

A few months ago Daryl Impey’s career seemed to be over when a positive test for Probenicid prompted his team to put him on inactive status. Less than two weeks, he was fully cleared and he immediate travelled to Canada to return to action in the Tour of Alberta.

 

Today he marked his return to racing by a bang when he secured himself the overall victory by winning the final stage of the race. Having gone into the race 9 seconds behind overall leader Tom Dumoulin, his Orica-GreenEDGE team had a plan to set the fast South African up for a sprint win.

 

When 40 riders arrived at the finish, the Australian team proved their strength by lining four riders up ahead of their captain and when Impey launched his sprint, the outcome was never in doubt. He easily held off Ryan Anderson and Ramunas Navardauskas and the 10 bonus seconds was enough to catapult him into first place overall ahead of a very disappointed Dumoulin while Ruben Zepuntke (Bissell) completed the podium.

 

After yesterday’s sprint stage, the Tour of Alberta ended with what was regarded as the hardest stage of the race. At just 124.1km, the stage was made up of 11 laps of a very hard circuit in Edmondton and every time the riders had to go up a hard climb before they rolled the last few flat kilometres to the finish.

 

The riders took the start under a cloudy, rainy sky which made the circuit very slippery. As it had been the case in the first stages, the race got off to a very fast start with lots of attacks and at the end of the first lap, 3 riders had escaped with 5 chasers.

 

Those two groups merged and more riders bridged across to form an 11-rider group that was finally brought back. Hence, it was all together for the first KOM sprint where Simon Yates (Orica-GreenEDGE) beat Harry Carpenter (Hincapie) and Phil Gaimon (Garmin) extend his lead in the mountains competutuib,

 

After the top, Taylor Shelden (5-Hour) got a gap but he was brought back before the riders reached the first intermediate sprint. Christian Meier (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Georg Preidler (Giant) escaped just before they reached the sprint and it was the Canadian who beat his Austrian rival to score important bonus seconds while Jonas Ahlstrand took third to take seconds away from Dumoulin’s rivals.

 

The pair managed to build a 52-second advantage but the group was brought back shortly after the sprint. Instead four riders got clear and that group swelled to six before they were brought back at the midpoint of the stage.

 

Yates beat David Tanner (Belkin) in the second KOM sprint and the hard pace on the climb led to the formation of a big group. Yates and Tanner were joined by Steven Kruijswijk (Belkin), Alessandro Bazzana (UnitedHealthCare), Simon Geschke (Giant), Cristiano Salerno (Cannondale), Alex Candelario (Optum), Kirk Carlsen (Jelly Belly), Michael Woods (5-Hour), Ty Magner (Hincapie) and Zach Bell (SmartStop) to form a strong 10-rider group.

 

Bissell had missed the move and they worked hard on the front of the peloton until their rider Daniel Eaton bridged the gap with Ben King (Garmin). This caused the peloton to slow down and while Tom Peterson set a slow pace for Giant-Shimano, the gap reached 1.20 on the 8th lap.

 

At this point, Kruijswijk attacked from the breakaway and as there was no cooperation in the chase group, he started to build an advantage. Yates, Geschke, Bazzana, Magner and Woods got a small gap when they started to attack each other and Yates beat Geschke to take second in the second intermediate sprint.

 

Yates and Geschke sat up as Garmin had now started to chase with Tom Danielson and Caleb Fairly and on the 9th lap, the chasers were all brought back. As they crossed the line to start the penultimate lap, Kruijswijk was 50 seconds ahead but against the strong Garmin team he was constantly losing ground.

 

On the climb, Pieter Weening (Orica-GreenEDGE) launched a strong attack and he got a small gap with King Davide Formolo (Cannondale) and a Giant rider. Giant reacted quickly and brought it back together before Formolo tried to sneak off.

 

Garmin again hit the front with Gavin Mannion and Danielson and they brought the young Italian back. Tom Leezer (Belkin) and Weening also started to ride hard on the front and they led the peloton all the way to the bottom of the climb for the final time.

 

Here Daan Olivier accelerated with Dumoulin on his wheel and the race leader proved that he was the strongest climber in the race. At the top, only Navardauskas, Sep Vanmarcke, Jonathan Hivert (both Belkin), Impey and Segei Tvetcov (Jelly Belly) had been able to hang on but as the pace went down, Formolo, Toms Skujins (Hincapie) and Davide Villella (Cannondale) made it across.

 

Tvetcov and Formolo launched a strong attack but Dumoulin brought it back. However, the race leader was now isolated and found himself in a difficult situation.

 

With 6km to go, a bigger group latched onto the back while Navardauskas safely negotiated the wet and tricky descent.  As soon as they had reached the bottom, Toms Skujins (Hincapie) took off and he got a small gap while the favourites were looking at each other.

 

King, Zepuntke and Formolo launched the next attack but now Orica-GreenEDGE had decided that they wanted a sprint finish. Weening started to ride on the front of the 43-rider group, trying to bring the lone Skujins back.

 

With 4km to go, Skujins was brought back but Weening continued to ride had on the front. However, he came under pressure when Formolo and Yates attacked.

 

The pair of youngster managed to build a small advantage but as Yates refused to do any work, they were brought back. Geschke was riding on the front for Giant-Shimano but with 2km to go, Yates hit the front with four of his teammates on his wheel.

 

Weening took over while the sprinters positioned themselves a little further back. The Dutchman led the group under the red kite before Yates took over.

 

Leigh Howard was next in line while Zepuntke and Vanmarcke fought hard for Impey’s wheel. Finally, Hayman made the final lead-out and when Impey launched his sprint, no one was even close to passing him.

 

Yates won the mountains jersey while Navarduaskas took the points jersey. Dumoulin was best young rider while Garmin-Sharp won the teams classification.

 

Racing in Canada resumes on Friday when the WorldTour team clash in the GP de Quebec before the block of North American racing comes to an end two days later with the GP Montreal.

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