Daryl Impey Wins First Solo Tour de France Stage!
- Daryl Impey won Stage 9 of the Tour de France after leading in a two-man breakaway with Tiesj Benoot.
- The 34-year-old South African has led the Tour in the past, but had never before won an individual stage.
- Julian Alaphilippe finished with the peloton and defended his yellow jersey.
- Daryl Impey earned the first solo Tour de France win of his career on Sunday, prevailing on a fast descent to the finish on Stage 9 after a long day of climbing.
Impey took the lead in a two-man break with Tiesj Benoot after the chase group split up on the final climb, the Category 3 Côte de Saint-Jus in France’s Massif Central region. The pair stayed away, and though Benoot briefly took the lead in the last few metres, Impey kept the pressure on and powered back in front of the Belgian.
It’s a milestone victory for the 34-year-old Impey. The South African all-rounder has led the Tour’s General Classification in the past, but had never before won an individual stage. (His Mitchelton–Scott team, then known as Orica–GreenEDGE, won the team time trial stage in the 2013 Tour.)
“That is pretty much for me, from the Tour de France perspective, something that was really missing and this is my seventh time riding the Tour de France. I’ve been in quite a few breakaways and to finally nail it today, it’s just a dream come true, I really don’t have any words.” Impey told reporters afterwards, noting that the last South African to win a stage at the Tour was Robbie Hunter in 2007.
I kind of just believed in myself and played it quite smart
“It was a stage I kind of marked for a breakaway, yesterday was a bit unfortunate as the break went straight away and today we were pretty active, Luke and Matteo were active at the start. I just kind of found the lucky move, I didn’t have to do too much to get in there, then we all just worked really well together and I kind of just believed in myself and played it quite smart there at the end I think.”
“I haven’t actually been that emotional at the finish for a long time, so it’s fantastic to win at this level, the Tour de France. I think the last stage victory for South Africa was Robbie Hunter in 2007, so it’s been a long time between drinks and to win on Bastille Day that’s fantastic, that’s a magic memory.”
“This is a dream come true, this is something I really wanted to do and you know it’s so difficult at this level, so when all the stars line up like they did today, I can’t be any prouder, it’s fantastic and I know South Africa will be cheering on and thanks to my family as well, they’ve supported me the whole way through this.”
Before the final climb of the 170.5K course, 27-year-old Austrian Lukas Pöstlberger led the field in solo breakaway that at times exceeded 40 seconds. He was caught with about 15K to go, but then the chasers split up, with Impey and Benoot rocketing to the front and the poursuivants behind them dividing into two smaller groups.
On the General Classification, Julian Alaphilippe finished with the peloton – a full 16 minutes and 25 seconds behind Impey – and easily defended his yellow jersey. Giulio Ciccone, who took the overall lead from Alaphilippe on Stage 6 and kept it for two days, remains 23 behind the Frenchman. Thibaut Pinot kept third at 53 seconds behind. Returning champion Geraint Thomas maintained fifth, while his Ineos teammate Egan Bernal stayed in sixth.
Peter Sagan and Tim Wellens continue to lead in the green and polka dot jersey competitions, respectively.
The stage didn’t go so smoothly for some. Alessandro De Marchi, a 33-year-old Italian on CCC Team, crashed hard in early kilometers and suffered deep cuts to the face. He was taken to hospital for X-rays and had to drop out of the race.