Tour de France 2019 :Daryl Impey comes out best in sprint finish

Daryl Impey wins a sprint finish
Daryl Impey wins a sprint finish

Daryl Impey won stage nine of the Tour de France from the breakaway as Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe kept the yellow jersey on Bastille Day.


South African Impey beat Tiesj Benoot in a two-man sprint for the line after the pair had left their fellow escapees behind on the final climb of the 170.5km stage from Saint Etienne to Brioude.

It gave Impey his first solo stage win in the Tour, though he was part of Orica-GreenEdge's team time trial success in Nice in 2013 and a few days later became the first African to wear the yellow jersey in Montpellier.

"For me, from a Tour de France perspective, a stage win was something really missing," the Mitchelton-Scott rider said. "I made quite a few breakaways in the past few years and finally, today, I got the win on Bastille Day. It's fantastic."

That all happened some 16 minutes before the peloton crossed the line, having enjoyed a relatively sedate ride with the general classification contenders unthreatened and the sprint teams keeping their powder dry for Monday's stage 10 to Albi.

Romain Bardet, born and raised in Brioude and still resident just up the road, put in an attack on the final climb but was comfortably closed down by Geraint Thomas' Team Ineos and they rolled into town together.

That kept Deceuninck-Quick-Step's Alaphilippe in the yellow jersey, 23 seconds ahead of Trek-Segafredo's Giulio Ciccone and 53 seconds ahead of fellow Frenchman Thibaut Pinot of Groupama-FDJ.

Defending champion Thomas remains in fifth place overall, 72 seconds off yellow.

This was always pegged as a stage for a breakaway, and a powerful 15-man group including Team Sunweb's Nicolas Roche, EF Education First's Simon Clarke and Bora-Hansgrohe's Lukas Postlberger was quick to form as the peloton left Saint Etienne, building a lead of more than 10 minutes.

The first gaps in the break appeared when Postlberger attacked 40km from home, with the Austrian pulling almost a minute clear before counter-attacks began to shed riders.

Roche was part of a seven-man group that reeled in Postlberger on the Cote de Saint-Just, and the Irishman then launched another attack that only Lotto-Soudal's Benoot and Adam Yates' team-mate Impey could follow before they left Roche behind on the final approach to Brioude.

Roche had to settle for sixth place on the day, 14 seconds after Impey.

"They were killing me on the flats," the 35-year-old said. "There were a lot of big engines today. Even though we had some margin, the pace was high all day long.

"With about 25km to go there were the first attacks and the group got smaller, it was there the pace was really intense. I tried to make the most of the climb but Benoot was really strong and then Daryl Impey came from nowhere into the last kilometre.

"When I saw him, I thought, 'Oh wow, now it's going to be complicated' because I know how good of a bike rider he is on this terrain."

Tour de France: Stage-by-stage guide

July 15, Stage 10: Saint-Flour to Albi (217.5km)

The peloton must wait until Tuesday for their first rest day but as they climb on their bikes one more time, riders will be grateful most of the second half of this stage is essentially downhill. The sprint teams will hope for a straightforward day.

July 17, Stage 11: Albi to Toulouse (167km)

The last time a Tour stage finished in Toulouse, back in 2008, a young debutant by the name of Mark Cavendish took victory. After two tough years of illness, injury and misfortune the Manxman could certainly use a repeat 11 years on. With the mountains looming, it will be the sprinters' last chance for a while.

July 18, Stage 12: Toulouse to Bagneres-de-Bigorre (209.5km)

And so to the Pyrenees, though stage 12 is just a warm-up. Two category one climbs, the Peyresourde and the Hourquette d'Ancizan, provide the focus before a long descent into Bagneres-de-Bigorre where Ireland's Dan Martin took his first stage win in 2013.

July 19, Stage 13: Pau to Pau (27.2 time trial)

The only individual time trial of this year's Tour will be a test of strength over a rolling course, but also a test of the head. Go too deep and riders will surely be burned on the mountain tests to come over the weekend. The eventual winner of the Tour has finished in the top four of every long time trial since 2011 but this time they may prefer to save their legs.

July 20, Stage 14: Tarbes to Tourmalet Bareges (117.5km)

The first of the five HC climbs comes on stage 14 - a short, sharp 117.5km race to the summit of the storied Tourmalet. The highest surfaced climb in the Pyrenees has featured in the Tour 87 times but this will be only the second stage finish at the summit.

July 21, Stage 15: Limoux to Foix Prat d'Albis (185.5km)

The second summit finish in a row comes on a more traditional Pyrenean stage, which rolls over several testing climbs, sapping the legs and the minds. However, there is no tradition to the finish with the Prat d'Albis making its Tour debut.

July 23, Stage 16: Nimes to Nimes (177km)

After the second rest day comes a pretty flat stage, though with constant changes of direction on a loop starting and finishing in Nimes, the sprinters' plans could be disrupted if the Mistral wind blows.

July 24, Stage 17: Pont du Gard to Gap (200km)

And so towards the Alps, though stage 17 features none of the big passes on a day of gradual climbing up to Gap. This is the stage in the race where breaks are often allowed to stay clear as the battle for yellow rages behind, but this day has been made to be utterly unpredictable. A punchy final climb of the Col de la Sentinelle could be a springboard, while it's not inconceivable some of the sprinters survive in the main group.

July 25, Stage 18: Embrue to Valloire (208km)

There may only be five HC climbs in the entire Tour, but two of them come in a single day as the riders tackle the Izoard and the Galibier before dropping down to the finish in Valloire. The stage winner should come from whichever group first crests the Galibier - appearing for the 60th time as the Tour's most regular Alpine venue - and this could be a decisive day overall.

July 26, Stage 19: Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to Tignes (126.5km)

Stage 19 is a leg-sapping day designed to test the resolve of anyone planning a late move in the general classification. The Iseran - at 2,770m the high point of the Tour - comes in the middle of the stage and casts a long shadow before the shorter climb to Tignes offers an opportunity for attacks.

July 27, Stage 20: Albertville to Val Thorens (130km)

The last chance saloon for GC hopefuls does not look an inviting one. The final climb of the Tour is the 33.4km HC slog up to Val Thorens. If ever there was a Tour designed for a true climber, one with only a handful of time trial kilometres and four HC climbs in the last three days could be it.

July 28, Stage 21: Rambouillet to Paris Champs-Elysees (128km)

There are two big questions on the final day. Will the yellow jersey winner choose a few glasses of champagne or, as Geraint Thomas did last year, prefer a beer or two as they celebrate along the roads of the Parisian suburbs? And which sprinters will have survived the mountains in order to battle it out on the Champs-Elysees?

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