Two-time and defending champion Daryl Impey has moved into the lead after stage five of the Santos Tour Down Under.
Impey picked up five bonus seconds at the two immediate sprints to overtake Richie Porte (Trek-Segafred) in the overall standings and will take a two-second lead into the final stage up Willunga tomorrow.
With 16 seconds on offer at the start of the day, Mitchelton-SCOTT went in pursuit of as many as possible in an attempt to set Impey up for the final stage in Willunga.
Finishing second for two seconds at the first intermediate, the South African champion went one better to pick up three bonus seconds at the second intermediate sprint. The combination of five seconds put Impey in the virtual lead by two seconds.
Setting up for the final KOM:
After shutting down a more dangerous large group, Mitchelton-SCOTT controlled a breakaway of four that formed following the second intermediate sprint.
With the help of Astana Pro Team, Mitchelton-SCOTT brought the group back at the start of the climb and with a fierce pace set by Lucas Hamilton, they split the bunch and created a select group of just 10 over the top of the climb.
Impey had two teammates for company in the front group, but a bigger group behind with sprinters and general classification riders who had missed the split worked together and brought the race back together for the final sprint.
Australian champion Cameron Meyer moved Impey up in the final kilometre, but it was a sprinter’s day with the 35-year-old settling for 10th behind winner Giacomo Nizzolo (NTT Team).
Daryl Impey – Race Leader:
“It’s fantastic to lead the race going into Willunga. I’m chuffed at all of the work the guys have been doing, it’s been fantastic.
“The whole week we’ve been trying to get into the lead here and put myself in a position tomorrow to beat Richie. I’m two seconds up, I don’t know if it’s enough but we’ve given ourselves every chance to win this bike race and it’s all up to tomorrow.
“We did exactly what we planned on the climb. Lucas set a hell of a tempo up there, there was only 10 guys left so we had a very select group. I was praying that group would make it to the line because I fancied my chances there.”
Matt White – Head Sport Director:
“When you’re getting popped by the world champion you know it’s a full on sprint. The boys did an incredible job in the lead outs and to take five of the maximum six seconds was really good and put us into the jersey.
“The second plan of the day was to try to deliver Daryl to the finish with a very select group so he could take more seconds.
“All the boys, we took control of the race and the ride that Luke Durbridge, Jack Bauer, Michael Hepburn did to control that breakaway and then on the climb they did all they could, especially Lucas, and they created a very select group of 11 riders.
“Unfortunately there was too many GC riders and sprinters who missed it, which meant there were a few teams keen to bring it back for the final.”
2020 Tour Down Under – Stage 5 Results:
1. Giacomo Nizzolo (NTT Pro Cycling) 3:32:45
2. Simone Consonni (Cofidis) ST
3. Sam Bennett (Deceuninck – Quickstep) ST
10. Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST
2020 Tour Down Under – General Classification after Stage 5:
1. Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 17:12:15
2. Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) +0:02
3. Robert Power (Team Sunweb) +0:09