South African cycling was riding high at the Down Under in Australia with great success for both Daryl Impey and Nicholas Dlamini.
Two-time Olympian Daryl Impey was the overall winner of the Santos Tour Down after the final 90-kilometre stage which finished in Adelaide. Impey became the first South African in history to win the Australian WorldTour race.
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 – Tour Down Under victory the biggest of his career.
The final day’s action saw the stage being held over 20 laps in the Adelaide centre. All 33-year-old Mitchelton-Scott rider had to do was finish in the peloton to secure the overall victory on a countback from Richie Porte (BMC Racing).
‘Coming into the race I didn’t expect to win it but sometimes the stars line up and everything goes well,’ Impey told Associated Press after his biggest victory yet. Impey said the final stage had been ‘pretty hectic’ as a number of riders battled to improve their overall finishing positions.
‘I’ve been in this position before with Simon (Gerrans), trying to protect the jersey for him, but it’s definitely more nerve-wracking when you’ve got the jersey yourself,’ he said.
The Santos Tour Down was Impey’s first win on the World Tour.
He won the 2009 Tour of Turkey and the 2014 Tour of Alberta. He also won a stage of the Tour De France and wore the yellow jersey for two stages in 2013.
For Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka going into the final stage was all about conserving the 3rd place overall of Tom-Jelte Slagter and ensuring Nicholas Dlamini finished safely in the bunch to be crowned King of the Mountains.
There was more joy when Nicholas Dlamini won the King of the Mountains competition in only his first season on the World Tour. Dlamini won the King of the Mountains competition with 48 points, 12 clear of seasoned Aussie rider Porte of the BMC Racing Team.
‘It has been a great week for the entire team, everyone did what they needed to. I’m delighted to win my first leaders jersey in my first World Tour race,” said Dlamini.
Africa’s cycling Team, Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka can be more than pleased with their efforts at the opening World Tour race of the season as Tom-Jelte Slagter secured 3rd place overall and Nicholas Dlamini won the King of the Mountains competition. The Dimension Data team also placed second in the team standings.
Impey said the win, combined with Dlamini’s effort in taking the King of the Mountain title, was a boost for South African cycling.