The in-form Mitchelton-SCOTT rider has had an incredible start to the 2018 season after taking the overall victory at the Tour Down Under and has been able to carry his momentum into the championships to finally bring the South African jersey to the team despite being without teammates and out-numbered.
A group of eight riders established the first breakaway of the day before Impey bridged across in a small group after 50kilometres of racing. A touch of wheels took down four Dimension-Data riders which left a reduced leading group and played to Impey's advantage.
Playing the game
With a strong representation from Dimension-Data, Impey knew it would be a challenge to come away with the victory but with many Under 23 riders interesting in racing hard for the title, Impey was able to utilise this. Using his experience he was able to put himself in a perfect position with 25 kilometres to go, to lead the race with two other riders, Jacques Jv Rensburg (Dimension-Data) and Jason Oosthuizen (Barzani Pro Cycling).
Having dominated the time trial event over the years, becoming the first ever South African to win the title seven times, the road race was next on the list for Impey having placed second on two previous occasions (2014 & 2015). Finally with some luck on his side and incredible form, Impey was able to add the victory to his list.
Daryl Impey - 2018 South African road race and time trial champion
“It feels so good to win, I have lost a few championships after some bad luck so it was about time luck was in my favour. It is a nice relief to finally get the jersey, you always have these races that you want to win and finally I can tick off this one.
“The race split quite easily, I put it in the gutter and we rode across to the leaders in a group of about 12 guys and there was six or seven Dimension-Data riders there. One guy touched my wheel and actually brought down four of them (Dimension-Data riders) and left just four of us to ride across.
“Once we got to the front group of eight, there were guys there interested in the Under23 title so they were riding and they obviously didn’t want Dimension-Data to come back. When I saw they were coming back at the end, around 60kilometres to go, I just put my head down and went and I was able to take a couple of guys with me and encouraged them to work.
“I knew once we were just three out front, from that Jason had had a good ride but was a bit spent and that Jacques isn’t really known for sprinting so I was fairly confident I could take the victory then.”
South African road race results:
1. Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-SCOTT)
2. Jacques Jv Rensburg (Dimension-Data)
3. Jason Oosthuizen (Barzani Pro Cycling)