Impey chases back-to-back Tour Down Under titles in extreme heat
ADELAIDE, Australia: South Africa’s Daryl Impey is bidding to become the first cyclist to win back-to-back titles at Australia’s Tour Down Under as the race gets under way in sweltering conditions around Adelaide on Tuesday.
Mitchelton- Scot t ’ s Impey won last year’s UCI seasonopening event on countback from Australia’s Richie Porte for the biggest victory of his career, and went on to have his most successful season in 2018.
No one has won consecutive titles in the 20 years of the Tour Down Under. But with only one arduous uphill stage finish this year, where last year he finished second behind Porte, Impey is primed for a repeat.
“Australia has and always will be important for us,” Impey said. “We would definitely like to win the Tour Down Under again and we are arriving to try to do just that.
“For me personally, it would be great to win back-to-back. No one has done that.”
The six- stage race takes place in the south of the country on the streets of Adelaide and through the surrounding countryside.
With extreme temperatures of 40 Celsius ( 104F) and above forecast for much of the event, race organisers along with team and rider representatives have made the decision to modify the race route for Tuesday’s opening stage.
Based on the severe conditions forecast of buffeting winds the 3.4-km (2.1-mile) finishing circuit will be removed, putting the total distance of Stage 1 at 129 km, organisers said.
The tour begins with expected sprints on the three opening stages before the Corkscrew climb returns on stage four.
The signature climb on the tour up Willunga Hill has been moved to the final day, ensuring that the race for the ochre jersey will go right down to the wire. — AFP
Matt Kuchar of the United States plays his shot from the 16th tee during the final round of the Sony Open In Hawaii at Waialae Country Club. — AFP photo