Daryl Impey finishes 4th in Basque Country
“We gave everything. Fantastic performance”
“It is a real shame we only walked away with 4th”
A few minutes before the start of stage 5 of Itzulia Basque Country, we asked to speak with Daryl Impey.
He is a straight shooter, our South African; and a guy that, with his vast experience and leadership, brings the quiet confidence a team needs.
So, we asked him how he thought the team would do. They were facing the task of trying to win the stage, the last real opportunity to win, with two riders gone.
This was his answer, word for word:
“Well, I mean, if we’re not focused and don’t have the energy, we might as well go home, you know?
“Unfortunately, we’ve lost two of our guys, but you know, today’s really our last opportunity, and while we’re here, we might as well make the most of it.
“And if we don’t win, well, that’s fine, but at least at the dinner table tonight, we can all be proud of what we’ve done.”
Four hours and 160 km later, and just minutes after Daryl finished 4th following a full-gas totally committed effort from the five men of Israel Start-Up Nation, we could confidently say:
Hey Daryl, you guys definitely earned your dinner 🥘.
With only five guys, we knew we could not chase every breakaway. But when a pretty strong one formed, including two powerful Quick-Step riders, we were right there working to chase them and keep them close. Canadian Alex Cataford was our key man, doing an admirable job for more than 100 km. Then, in the two climbs, Ben Hermans used all his power to cut the gap in a hurry.
But for some reason, we did not see the same commitment from some of the other teams. “Some teams came a bit late,” said our sports director Lionel Marie. “In retrospect, maybe there was not enough collaboration.”
But this is racing. In the end, the two Quick-Step riders were able to hold off the chasers, and Mikkel Honore won the stage.
But our guys didn’t let it up, and Patrick Bevin helped Daryl to take 4th place from the bunch.
“We are proud of them all,” said DS Marie.
And the last word goes to Daryl:
“We were two guys down from the start, but that didn’t stop us from committing to a plan. We gave it everything, and it’s a real shame we walk away with 4th; it didn’t reflect on what we did as a team. It was a fantastic performance, and we took the race by the scruff of the neck and were beaten by a more substantial group in front. Hats off to them.”