Starting the final day on equal time with Richie Porte (BMC Racing), the lead only determined by countback, the Mitchelton-SCOTT rider needed to finish safely in the bunch to formally claim the biggest win of his career.
A second place to Australian sprinter Caleb Ewan on today’s final stage gave Mitchelton-SCOTT a podium place on all six stages of the 2018 Tour Down Under.
Ewan finished with a stage win, two second places and a third place, whilst Impey himself also wrapped up three second-place finishes on his way to overall victory.
Not over until it’s over
Locked on equal time with yesterday’s stage winner Richie Porte, the win was not for celebrating until the final line was crossed. Backing his personal and the team’s sprinting abilities, the main concern was a mishap in the closing stages of today’s circuit race that could reverse the countback advantage.
But, thankfully the 90km final hurdle concluded without worry and the champagne could be popped for the team’s fourth victory at the race.
Grabbing an opportunity with both hands
When you look back at the successes of Mitchelton-SCOTT over the past six seasons, Impey features as an invaluable teammate in many of them – across all terrains.
A changing of the guard in the Australian outfit has opened up the door to more personal success for Impey in 2018, and the South African has grabbed it with two hands in his debut race for the season – today’s Tour Down Under victory the biggest of his career.
Daryl Impey – 2018 Tour Down Under champion:
“It is a relief, you can never say it is done until it’s done.”
“We had things under control especially with the experienced guys like Mat Hayman, Damien Howson did some awesome work on the front this week so I was in good hands.”
“Wearing the yellow jersey at the Tour de France was a magical moment but this is very close to that. I worked really hard for this one and especially knowing how important it is to the team and the sponsors. It was a high-pressure race for us, everyone expects a lot so to top it off with a win is very special.”
“It is a step up in my career, you get these little stepping stones and you reach bigger mile stones and I’ve proved to myself now, as I’ve always had a little bit of self-doubt.”
“I’ve ridden for guys who have been in this situation and it is a lot easier riding for someone else, so to come in and take the pressure for a change and have a go I am very happy to have been able to do that.”
”It’s one of the most special races of the season so I will like to come back next year and wear the number one, you don’t get too many opportunities to do that.”
Matt White – Sport Director:
“Daryl is an impressive rider who has helped for six years, from the sprint to the mountains and team time trials, you name it and Daryl has done it in support of other guys. He has had some great wins but this is his biggest win of his career and everyone in this organisation is very proud of him.”
“He was the best bike rider here this week because he was the most consistent across the six-days so he thoroughly deserves this win.”
“I think a few different things helped us along this week for example the extreme temperatures which suit Daryl and I think this is actually the best we’ve ever seen him. If we put those together with great team work across the board, the worst we have finished on any stage is third, every single stage we have been very competitive.”
“It has been very satisfying on a few fronts, the composure the guys showed in the sprints, mountains stages, it’s been impressive. The core group has worked together for a long time but there’s some new guys, like Jack Bauer who is new to the group and also Cameron Meyer who hasn’t been on the team for three years. The team has clicked very well so it’s exciting times going back over to Europe.”
1. Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) 2:01:19
2. Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST
3. Peter Sagan (Bora Hansgrohe) ST
Tour Down Under – FINAL General Classification:
1. Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 20:03:34
2. Richie Porte (BMC Racing) ST
3. Tom-Jelte Slagter (Dimension Data) 0:16