While the second last day of racing at the 2017 Volta a Catalunya was one to forget for Chris Froome and Team Sky, Daryl Impey and Orica-Scott celebrated stage victory and moved Adam Yates into fourth overall.
A day after the queen stage, stage six wasn't necessarily a day to expect three-time Tour de France winner Froome to lose over 26 minutes when he missed a split in the peloton, or that 47 riders would finish outside the time limit. However, at the pointy end of the stage it was Impey taking the spoils having earlier ridden in support of Yates.
The win was Impey's second of the season after his record sixth South African time trial title and first in Europe since a stage of the 2014 Bayern Rundfahrt.
"Going into today's stage I didn't think I would have a good chance but the team rode so well," Impey said. "We knew it would be hard to drop the sprinters today but we had numbers in the front, Carlos Verona was doing strong turns so I am happy to finish it off with a win."
Sport director Neil Stephens added the stage reflected the hard work by the team on the bike and was pleased by the dual outcomes of stage success and Yates' improved GC position.
“Today was obviously a great day for us to move up in the overall classification and also win the stage," Stephens said. "It is a big step for the team and it sums up the team spirit.
“We had staff come and recon the stage, we knew it was a good stage and a potential stage for Daryl. The most important thing for us this week was to look after Yates’ overall chances, so Daryl really sacrificed himself in the early parts of the stage to try and keep the group away.
"In the final part of the stage, we said to Daryl to back off and try and recover, he said he was pretty tired but would still give it a go and that just shows the spirit of this team."
With the final day Barcelona circuit to come, Yates sits fourth overall at 1:21 minutes to Alejandro Valverde (Movistar). In third place is Marc Soler at 1:06 minutes and should Yates manage to overtake the Movistar rider to finish on the podium, he would also move into the lead of the young rider classification. It would also be the first podium at a WorldTour stage race for the 24-year-old who was fourth overall at last year's Tour de France and best young rider.
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