Impey and Dlamini fly SA flag in Australia
JOHANNESBURG - South African riders Daryl Impey and Nicholas Dlamini stood tall after four stages of the Tour Down Under in Australia on Friday.
Two-time Olympian Impey claimed his second stage runners-up spot of the tour, while Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s Dlamini still hangs on to the King of the Mountains jersey.
Impey, riding for Mitchelton-Scott, lost out to Peter Sagan in the group sprint on Friday, as the Bora-Hansgrohe rider took control of the overall race lead.
The 128-kilometre stage included the feared Norton Summit stage and temperatures of 43 degrees Celsius made it a gruelling trip between Norwood and Uraidla.
Two riders from the UniSA team braved the heat and went on the attack, establishing a lead of nine minutes.
The gap to the breakaway meant the peloton couldn’t afford to rest, making for an all-round difficult stage heading toward Norton Summit.
The peloton got the better of the break in the end, reeling them in just before the Cat 1 climb began at 13km to go. The main group flew into the base of the climb and riders were instantly getting dropped. It wasn’t long until only 35 riders remained in the lead group.
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka were well poised for the finale with three riders positioned in the group of favourites. Team leader, Tom-Jelte Slagter had the support of Ben O’Connor and Scott Davies going over the top of Norton Summit.
Richie Porte was first to crest the climb, closing the gap to Dlamini’s King of the Mountain’s jersey to 16 points but the South African will no doubt be out to defend his jersey again on Saturday.
As the 35-rider lead group made its way over the rollers that over the final 7km, a few attacks went off the front but with one kilomtre to go it all came back together.
Sagan was the fastest from the group despite a strong challenge from Impey.