Santos Tour Down Under 2018: Impey counts back to victory

So often the key to winning this race is staying in contention until Friday and Saturday’s race defining stages. Daryl Impey did just that. The 33-year-old South African finished second on the penultimate and queen stage of the Santos Tour Down Under to take the overall lead on countback with one day remaining. His Mitchelton-SCOTT teammates kept him safe on Sunday’s 90km criterium around Adelaide to preserve the biggest victory of his career and become the first South African rider to win the event. 

Rider of the Race

With a number of different stage and jersey winners, there are plenty of contenders for this prestigious award but I’m going to plump for the race winner, Daryl Impey, whose stealthy three runner-up places secured him the race leader’s ochre jersey and his team’s fourth race victory here.

Couldn’t agree with you more Jose, at VeloVoices Towers we just love it when this happens. Impey has been invaluable in many of the team’s successes – across all terrains. Opportunity came knocking this week and the South African grabbed it with two hands, the biggest of his career. Post-race he confirmed:

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 and Damien Howson who did some awesome work on the front this week so I was in good hands … It’s one of the most special races of the season so I would like to come back next year and wear the number one, you don’t get too many opportunities to do that.

Fresh face(s)!

Before moving onto this year’s winners, let’s look at how the youngsters from Team UniSA, last year’s fresh faces, have fared. Two have joined Sunweb (Jai Hindley and Michael Storer), Lucas Hamilton is with Mitchelton-SCOTT and Miles Scotson is with the Mitchelton development squad. 

We have three fresh faces. Midge’s #youngdude for this race, Nicholas Dlamini, a neo-pro with Team Dimension Data, waltzed off with the King of the Mountain’s crown. Good pick, Midge! We’ll be keeping an eye out for him in future races and, maybe, grabbing a quick interview.

Our second is winner of the Best Young Rider jersey, Sky’s Egan Bernal (6th overall), whose victory in last year’s Tour de l’Avenir has already marked him out for future stardom. And finally, one of our 2017 #youngdudes, Ruben Guerreiro (Trek-Segafredo), finished 9th overall and runner-up in the young rider’s jersey, a fiercely fought contest. Keep a look out for all three in subsequent races.

Worth noting

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. The forward-thinking TDU organisation puts many prestigious European races to shame. Its Festival of Cycling includes both a men’s WorldTour and women’s internationally ranked race, plus loads of activities for fans all week long. While not everyone has the luxury of a single venue host, it’s the way the organisers ensure rider and spectator safety while still allowing significant interaction between the two that makes this event – now celebrating 20 years – such a success. It was the first event to do away with podium girls, but even better, it’s guaranteed equal prize money for men’s and women’s races.

Final results

1 Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 20:03:34

2 Richie Porte (BMC) same time

3 Tom-Jelte Slagter (Dimension Data) +0:16

4 Diego Ulissi (UAE Emirates) +0:20

5 Dries Devenyns (Quick-Step Floors) same time

Stage winners:

Stage 1: Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) Final KM here

Stage 2: Caleb Ewan (Michelton-SCOTT) Final KM here

Stage 3: Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) Final KM here

Stage 4: Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe) Final KM here

Stage 5: Richie Porte (BMC) Final KM here

Stage 6: Andre Griepel (Lotto Soudal) Final KM here

Jerseys

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Points Jersey: Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe)

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King of the Mountains Jersey: Nicholas Dlamini (Dimension Data)

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Young Rider Jersey: Egan Bernal (Sky)

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Team Classification Leader: Bahrain-Merida

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Links: Official race website

 

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