Daryl Impey says he's 'put himself in a position to beat Richie Porte' in decisive Tour Down Under showdown

The defending champion leads Porte by just two seconds in the GC heading into the final Willunga Hill stage

Richie Porte and Daryl Impey at the 2020 Tour Down Under (Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

On stage three of the 2020 Tour Down Under Richie Porte threw down the gauntlet to his rivals, out-climbing them up to Paracombe as he took the ochre leader's jersey.

His nearest competitor after that day was defending champion Daryl Impey, the Mitchelton-Scott rider sitting six seconds back on GC.

Over the next two flat days Impey didn't just bide his time, plotting for the final stage six featuring uphill kilometres, but managed to claw back three bonus seconds on stage four by winning the intermediate sprint to halve his deficit.

Then, on stage five with two early intermediate sprints, world champion Mads Pedersen was sent to the front to block Impey's assault on his Trek-Segafredo team-mate's lead, putting up a successful defence by pipping Impey to the line.

>>> Caleb Ewan reveals reason behind bizarre near-crash at Tour Down Under

20km later another sprint appeared on the horizon and this one Impey wasn't going to lose. Crossing the line first, the South African took the five bonus seconds on offer to overhaul Porte's lead and eke out his own two-second advantage.

"It's fantastic to lead the race going into Willunga," Impey said after the stage, reported by AFP.

"The whole week we've been trying to get into the lead here and put myself in a position tomorrow to beat Richie.

"I'm two seconds up, I don't know if it's enough, but we've given ourselves every chance to win this bike race and it's all up to tomorrow."

The final stage six will provide a climactic finish to the Australian stage race, with two ascents of Willunga Hill, the second of which provides the summit finish.

The 3.7km climb with an average gradient of 6.8 per cent is a regular feature in the race, with Porte having won the stage featuring the climb every year since 2014. The Tasmanian acknowledges the challenge ahead of him but that the slender advantage Impey has isn't insurmountable.

"It's not a massive deficit tomorrow, but it will be hard," Porte said.

"If we can win the stage, we can win the race. We are going to have to have guys up there tomorrow. I was a little isolated today, so hopefully tomorrow the boys are on again."

Impey has won the previous two editions of the race, while Porte will be looking to equal the South African's tally by adding to his 2017 victory.

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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.

Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).

I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.