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South African rider Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEdge) took the overall win at the Tour of Alberta Sunday, securing the yellow jersey by just one second following a field sprint victory.
On a cold and rainy 124.3km stage in Edmonton contested over an 11.3 km urban circuit, the field dwindled down to a small front group of about 40 riders entering the two final laps.
The stage ultimately ended in a bunch sprint that included all major general classification riders. With everyone in the main group allocated the same time, only two riders were eligible to dethrone Giant-Shimano’s Tom Dumoulin as the race leader — either Impey or Ruben Zepuntke of Bissell Development could win the race by taking the stage win.
During a furious final three kilometers, fueled by his Orica-GreenEdge teammates, Impey perfectly positioned himself for the finish and launched the sprint with about 200 meters to go.
With Canadian Ryan Anderson (Optum-Kelly Benefits) and Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Sharp) behind him, Impey held the lead in the sprint and crossed the finish line first.
“Tactically we rode well today,” Impey said. “We always had a guy up the road and in the moves so we put a lot of pressure on the teams behind and that set it up for me. Coming out of that last corner it was nearly impossible to lose, everybody stuck to the plan, we knew it was always going to be a gamble when we put everything on the finish, but I’m just stoked.”
Impey, who was a last-minute substitution on his team for the race and coming off a two-month ban that was lifted, benefited from the 10-second time bonus to dislodge Dumoulin as the overall leader, taking the yellow jersey by just one second.
“After everything I’ve gone through, this victory is very rewarding,” said Impey, who had a doping charge dropped after recent investigation by the South African Institute for Drug Free Sport, only four days before arriving in Alberta last week. “My team did an incredible job getting me the best position to sprint for the win.”
Anderson almost spoiled Impey’s victory by outsprinting him and eliminating him from the four crucial seconds he would need to overcome Dumoulin. Anderson took second place on the stage while Navardauskas finished third.
Impey’s journey to the overall win was largely due to time bonuses gained throughout the week. Eleventh in the prologue with a 23-second deficit to Dumoulin, Impey gained five seconds on Stage 2, three seconds on Stage 3, six seconds on Stage 4, and 10 seconds on Stage 5.
Despite losing the yellow jersey, Dumoulin won the race’s best young rider jersey. The Dutch rider won the prologue in Calgary on Tuesday and led the race through the following four stages only to lose it on the final stage.
For the 23-year-old Dumoulin, it was the third race this year that he lost on the final day.
“I knew I couldn’t sprint with him (Impey) and had to rely on someone defeating him today,” Dumoulin said. “When I saw his hand lifted in victory, I couldn’t believe it.”
Dumoulin, a time-trial specialist, most recently led the Tour of Belgium and Eneco Tour before being overcome on the final day of the race.
Anderson took the red jersey as the top Canadian on the first stage in Lethbridge, thanks to a third place in the sprint, and kept the jersey throughout the rest of the race. With two stage podium finishes, Anderson finished in fifth place of the overall standing, 11 seconds behind Impey.
Impey made a bold move to pass Anderson in the final 50 meters and Anderson was forced to ease his sprint near the line to avoid a crash. “It seemed like he (Impey) took a hard line and I was pinched to his right against the barrier,” Anderson said. “He obviously had more to gain than I did. It would have been good to get the stage win and I think it might have put me on the [GC] podium.”
Following the race, Tour of Alberta Executive Director Duane Vienneau announced that the 2015 Tour of Alberta will start in Grande Prairie with the prologue and Stage 1. The 2015 race will feature six days of racing, including a prologue. Dates have yet to be announced, but will be around the same time timeframe.
“This was a very good race,” said Impey. “It has become important for us. It’s organized well and well attended by the fans. We look forward to coming back.”
2014 TOUR OF ALBERTA
STAGE 5 (Edmonton Urban Circuit)
1. Daryl Impey (ORICA-GREENEDGE) 2:46:22
2. Ryan Anderson (OPTUM-KELLY BENEFIT STRATEGIES)
3. Ramunas Navardauskas (GARMIN-SHARP)
4. Sep Vanmarcke (BELKIN)
5. Kiel Reijnen (UNITEDHEALTHCARE)
6. Nicky Van Der Lijke (BELKIN)
7. Serghei Tvetcov (JELLY BELLY-MAXXIS)
8. Danny Summerhill (UNITEDHEALTHCARE)
9. Dion Smith (HINCAPIE SPORTSWEAR DEVELOPMENT TEAM)
10. Leigh Howard (ORICA-GREENEDGE), all same time
FINAL GENERAL CLASSIFICATION
1. Daryl Impey (ORICA-GREENEDGE) 16:07:56
2. Tom Dumoulin (GIANT-SHIMANO) +0:01
3. Ruben Zepuntke (BISSELL DEVELOPMENT) +0:09
4. Ramunas Navardauskas (GARMIN-SHARP)+0:10
5. Ryan Anderson (OPTUM-KELLY BENEFIT STRATEGIES) +0:11
6. Serghei Tvetcov (JELLY BELLY-MAXXIS)+0:15
7. Leigh Howard (ORICA-GREENEDGE) +0:16
8. Danny Summerhill (UNITEDHEALTHCARE) +0:19
9. Sep Vanmarcke (BELKIN) +0:31
10. James Oram (BISSELL DEVELOPMENT) +0:31
Yellow Jersey (Race Winner): Daryl Impey (ORICA-GREENEDGE)
Green Jersey (Top Sprinter): Ramunas Navardauskas (GARMIN-SHARP)
Polka Dot Jersey (Best Climber): Simon Yates (ORICA-GREENEDGE)
White Jersey (Best Young): Tom Dumoulin (GIANT-SHIMANO)
Red Jersey (Top Canadian): Ryan Anderson (OPTUM-KELLY BENEFIT STRATEGIES)