Impey on top after hectic TDU
CYCLING: Daryl Impey has become the first South African to claim the Tour Down Under crown.
Riding for Australian team Mitchelton-Scott, Impey (pictured) finished with the lead bunch on the final stage in Adelaide yesterday to add his name to the illustrious list of champions to have won the biggest cycling race in the southern hemisphere.
German Andre Greipel, nicknamed the Gorilla, again showcased his powerful sprint to win the final stage. The victory, his second this year, extended his record number of stage wins in the TDU to 18.
"I'm thrilled, coming into the race I didn't expect to win,” Impey said.
"Sometimes the stars line up and everything goes well and according to plan.
"I worked really hard in the off-season and I'm happy to get the win.
"The win goes to my family in South Africa. They have sacrificed a lot and I dedicate this to them. The final stage was hectic.
"I've been in this position before with (former teammate) Simon (Gerrans) trying to defend the jersey. I was prepared for that, but it certainly is more nerve-racking when you have got the jersey yourself.”
Australian sprint star Caleb Ewan, who led the tour for two days, blasted clear and looked to have the final 90km stage in his keeping.
But Greipel pounced with a well-timed burst to grab Ewan near the finish line.
"Towards the finish I had to wait as long as possible,” Greipel said. "Caleb came like a cannonball from the back, I could lay off and then pass him in the last metres.
"Experience helps a lot. We did not want to make a full lead out, keep our position and it worked out perfectly.”