Daryl Impey of Mitchelton-Scott has won Stage 9 of the Tour de France, outsprinting another member of the day's break, Tiesj Benoot of Lotto-Soudal, to clinch his maiden Grand Tour victory in Brioude. On Bastille Day, the main overall contenders awarded themselves a day off following a tough stage yesterday, and there was no change at the top of the overall standings.
The day’s final climb began with 16.4 kilometres to go and Bora Hansgrohe’s Lukas Postlberger, who had built an advantage of 45 seconds over the break after attacking over the top of the previous ascent, was the man who hit it first.
By then, however, a small group of counter-attackers had all but reeled in the Austrian, a past Grand Tour stage winner at the Giro d’Italia.
Once caught, he quickly dropped out of the back and next to attack was Team Sunweb’s Nicolas Roche, only Lotto-Soudal’s Benoot able to keep with him as the pair rode hard up the climb to distance rivals who would be faster if it came down to a sprint.
Unfortunately for them, one did – Mitchelton-Scott’s Impey, who coming across the summit rode hard to ensure that no-one else from the break could get back to them, and after the road bottomed out, Roche was dropped on the next climb.
That left Impey and Benoot alone in front but they still had to dig in deep in the final kilometres to ensure that a quartet of riders chasing them did not bridge across.
The Belgian’s only chance was to stay on Impey’s wheel for as long as possible in the final kilometre to try and ensure that when he made his move, the South African had no time to respond.
When Benoot launched his sprint 150 metres out, however, Impey – a past wearer of the yellow jersey – responded immediately and powered past him to take victory.
The main group containing the overall contenders, meanwhile, was almost a quarter of a minute back down the road and, having taken the day relatively easy so far, it exploded into life as AG2R-La Mondiale’s Romain Bardet, riding on home roads, launched an attack.
George Bennett of Jumbo-Visma, fourth overall, and Richie Porte of Trek Segafredo, went with him, but Team Ineos led the main bunch to bridge back across, and the group reformed and rode sedately to the finish in Bardet’s home town together.
Early on in the 170.5-kilometre kilometre stage from Saint-Etienne, Alessandro De Marchi, one of four men in the break on yesterday’s stage won by Lotto-Soudal’s Thomas De Gendt, crashed heavily, appearing to hit his head on a kerb, and was taken to hospital with facial injuries.
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