Peloton Watch
  Daryl Impey The Path To Yellow  
  July 5th 2013  
  The path to the yellow jersey at the Tour de France for Daryl Impey has not been an easy one. Interestingly Impey’s first win outside Africa came on stage six of the Herald Sun Tour in 2008. Interesting in that he now rides for Australia’s first World Tour team ORICA-GreenEDGE.

For some cycling followers the name may be a relatively new one. Others however will remember the events of the 2009 Tour of Turkey while riding for Barloworld. Impey won stage four of the race and moved in to the lead on stage six. Disaster stuck in the final kilometer of the final stage when he was arguably pushed in to a barrier by Theo Bos. Despite the crash Impey still won the race, the biggest of his career.

The injury set his career back taking months to recover. Having moved to RadioShack for the 2010 season he had a quiet year and had signed with the Australian Pegasus project for 2011. Left out in the cold when the team didn’t get off the ground. Impey made the most of a lifeline from the continental MTN Qhubeka squad and moved to NetApp mid season.

A move back to the top level of the sport came in 2012 as he signed with another Australian team GreenEDGE as it was then known. Initially recruited to assist Simon Gerrans in the Ardennes. The South African rider made the most of the opportunity and in only his second race of the season picked up the win on stage 2 of the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco. The win was made even more impressive by the fact he attacked from the peloton in the closing kilometers and held on to the line to take his first World Tour win

Early season success saw Impey named in the ORICA-GreenEDGE Giro squad. Impey’s addition to the teams sprint train proved crucial in the team securing their first Grand Tour stage win, on stage 3 with Matt Goss. A second win for Impey was not far away picking up the second stage of the Tour De Slovénie just before the Tour de France.

Selected for the Tour de France where he lead Matt Goss out to five top three finishes further proved his versatility. A horrible crash in the closing kilometers of Vattenfall Cyclassics ended Impey’s season early. 2012 proved just the start of things to come with two wins as well as seven top 10 finishes at Grand Tours.

Impey’s 2013 season started earlier than in 2012 due to his new position as Matt Goss’ key leadout man. Showing he is more than just a sprinter and a leadout man Impey finished an impressive 11th overall at the Tour of Oman and came close to winning two stages on the way.

The first win of the year came in February where he picked up the South African National Time Trial Championship for the second time. His 2012 win on stage two of the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco in Vitoria was something of an omen as Impey returned and won stage two in exactly the same city. Skipping the Giro due to the birth of his first child Ayden, Impey made his return at Bayern-Rundfahrt in May where he won stage two and took the race lead.

With ORICA-GreenEDGE hunting its first stage win at the Tour de France Impey would again play a crucial role. After having been lead out on stage two by Simon Gerrans they duo switched roles on stage three. Impey lead out Gerrans and the strength of the leadout saw Gerrans hold on to take the stage. With his team riding on a high they went on to win the TTT on stage four by less than a second giving Impey his first grand tour stage win and saw teammate Gerrans move in to yellow.

The decision had been made by Gerrans in consultation with the team to try and pass the yellow jersey to Impey. With Impey tied on time he needed to finish seven places ahead of Gerrans on stage six to take the lead. A split formed in the peloton with Impey ahead the count back wasn’t needed and Impey moved in to yellow on stage six by three seconds on Boasson Hagen of Team Sky.

Impey’s yellow jersey was the first for South Africa and the first for Africa. The first stage win for a South African at the Tour came in 2007 by Robert Hunter in the town of Montpellier the same town where Impey took yellow.

Despite having an up and down few years Impey has found a home with ORICA-GreenEDGE and more than repaid the faith put in him. He has developed in to one of the best leadout men in the world, and is more than capable of winning stages himself and climbing well. Impey is close to signing a new three-year deal with the team.

The path to the yellow jersey might be complete but the Daryl Impey story still has chapters to be written.
 © 2016