Two-time Olympian Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott) raced to the South African national road title in Oudsthoorn on Saturday, 10 February 2018, adding to the time trial title he won earlier in the week.
The Mitchelton-Scott team rider out-sprinted Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka climber, Jacques Janse van Rensburg for the win while third place on the day, as well as the U23 title, went to Jason Oosthuizen (Barzani Pro Cycling).
The race was held over 153 kilometres and Team Dimension Data were hoping to defend the title won by Reinardt Janse van Rensburg last year. Injury ruled the Pretoria-based rider for this year’s edition and there was early disaster for Dimension Data.
With only 35km completed, Team Dimension Data were in a strong position with both Janse van Rensburg and Louis Visser in the early break of the day.
Disaster then struck in the peloton as 5 of Team Dimention Data remaining 6 riders all came crashing down after a touch of wheels between Impey and continental team rider, Kent Main. Main hit the deck hard as Impey came across his front wheel in the gutter and as our entire team was following his wheel, they subsequently all came crashing down too. Impey rode off into the distance, almost immediately bridging to the break with the riders who weren’t involved in the crash.
Main was sent to hospital but Ryan Gibbons, Nic Dlamini, Nic Dougall and Stefan de Bod picked themselves up and started chasing. Jaco Venter, who just missed the big crash, made it to the front group with Impey but then punctured and joined our quartet in the chase. The leading group was not waiting around though and drove open the gap. With the numbers upfront, and our lads battered and bruised, there was no coming back despite a valiant chase effort.
Eventually Impey then went clear from the lead group and Janse van Rensburg and Oosthuizen followed. When it came down to the sprint, there was no matching the Tour Down Under victor who is in incredible form at the moment. Impey secured his first ever national road title to go with his 7-time trial titles, Janse van Rensburg took home the silver medal with Oosthuizen the 3rd rider across the line but also the first u23 rider, and therefore winning that title.
Fortunately, on initial assessment it seems no broken bones were sustained by the Dimension Data riders, mostly cuts and road rash, a concussion for Main though and Gibbons has been sent for further precautionary scans at a hospital in George.
Having dominated the time trial event over the years, Impey 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 and 2015). Finally with some luck on his side and incredible form, Impey was able to add the victory to his list.