The Roar
The Roar


Le Tour: Impey sets up Matthews and sets the example for Orica-BikeExchange

Daryl Impey showed his selflessness in the Tour de France. (Image: Sky).
13th July, 2016

The selflessness displayed by Orica-BikeExchange’s Daryl Impey on Stage 10 of the 2016 Tour de France epitomises what an ultimate team player he is.

Teammate Michael Matthews won the stage, but only after Impey sacrificed his own chances for victory by launching multiple attacks against their breakaway companions, a breakaway that also contained world-champion and pre-stage favourite, Peter Sagan (Tinkoff).

That Impey’s incessant attacks softened up Sagan is indisputable. The Slovakian had no choice but to chase down each of Impey’s surges or risk watching the plucky South African ride off into the sunset.

By contrast, Matthews had the luxury of sitting on Sagan’s wheel without having to expend any extra energy. As a result, Matthews took a well-deserved win, but a lot of the credit must sit with Impey.

Make no mistake, this was a stage that Impey could have won. With the makeup of the breakaway as it was, Impey’s sprinting prowess would have served him well. Yes, he is more often used as a lead-out man, but he possesses a good turn of speed and with no pure sprinters present, it could have just as well been him crossing the finish line first.

But that is not how Impey operates. Nor Luke Durbridge for that matter who also did a mountain of work earlier in the break keeping Matthews out of the wind and out of trouble.

They showed us exactly how team sport should be played.

But what would have happened over those final exciting kilometres if it was Simon Gerrans riding shotgun with Matthews instead of Impey?


Would Gerrans have sacrificed himself for Matthews? Or Matthews for Gerrans? I doubt it. Both would have sat in the slipstream of Sagan and followed him to the finish, hoping to be able to out sprint him at the end.

And most likely, as has happened in the past, neither of them would have won!

So kudos to Impey.

On the whole though, Orica-BikeExchange would be happy with how their Tour is travelling. They went into the race with the vague goal of picking up stage wins but now find themselves in a position to push for a spot on the final podium.

Like Esteban Chaves at this year’s Giro, Adam Yates has given us a glimpse into where his enormous potential may lead. He currently sits in second place on general classification, just 28 seconds behind race leader Chris Froome (Team Sky). More importantly, he looked comfortable in the Pyrenees and easily held his own against more highly fancied contenders.

It is an enormous effort considering the unfortunate crash back on Stage 7 that left him bloodied and bruised.

And while the noise coming from the Orica-BikeExchange camp and from Yates himself is still about winning stages, don’t you believe a word of it. They will try and hang onto that coveted podium spot – and the white jersey for the best young rider – for as long as they can.


And so they should. First and second place will probably be filled by Froome and Nairo Quintana (Movistar), but third place appears to be wide open. It is not out of the question that Yates could grasp it.

We’ll know more after tonight’s stage which finishes atop the intimidating Mont Ventoux. Many expect Quintana to show his cards here and if he does then the race could explode. It will be interesting to watch how Yates handles that type of pressure. If he reaches the top with his position on GC intact, then it will be time to get excited.

He will have limited support though, with Orica-BikeExchange made up largely of opportunists. Ruben Plaza will be the man charged with looking after Yates on the climb, but once he falls away, the young Brit will be on his own.

It is going to be a big day. Make sure you don’t miss it.