After crashing on stage 2 of La Vuelta a España, Daryl Impey showed his true grit and resilience to bounce back on stage 5 and sprint to second place, narrowly missing his first Vuelta win.
Impey was so close to the win from his 10-rider chase group, nailing the sprint to finish just four seconds behind winner Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates). It wasn’t the victory he was looking for, but Impey was all smiles at the finish line with his ride today proving he is back in shape after his crash.
“The crash may have taken a little bit off me but I rode the race exactly how I wanted to today. I timed it really well and had the legs to go. If I look at the sprint, then I did the sprint right. It’s a shame that Soler rode away but hats off to him, it was a great ride,” said Impey.
After an 80-kilometer battle to form a breakaway, Alessandro De Marchi found himself in the race lead for the second consecutive day and a few kilometers later, a chase group with Impey made the catch to make it 18 riders in the lead.
The breakaway extended their advantage to more than five minutes in the second half of the stage and with 40 kilometers to go, the climbs took their toll and the breakaway split.
After a great job by De Marchi to set him up, Impey fought hard to remain with the first group and despite losing contact towards the top of the final climb, the South African made his way back to the chase group which was just 10 seconds behind solo leader Soler.
“It was a tough day all day. It was very hard to make the breakaway. De Marchi put in an incredible ride, following all the moves at the beginning. I had good legs today. The climb at the end was pretty hard so I rode my own tempo and gambled there completely at the end,” explained Impey.
A moment of hesitation in the chase group was enough for Soler to hold on for the win and behind, Impey used his experience and speed to launch his sprint at the perfect time and take second place.
“I was hoping someone would go early but yeah, I gambled. I didn’t want to go too early and set someone else up. I was hoping Fred Wright was going to get impatient but he was also waiting. With the head wind, I knew that I could wait so I was gambling on Soler being a little bit closer in the end. But of course, it was every man for himself at the end. Soler won and I was second but I’m still happy with that.”