Impey sprints to emotional Tour stage win

Defending champion Daryl Impey has won the latest stage of the Tour Down Under in South Australia.
Defending champion Daryl Impey has won the latest stage of the Tour Down Under in South Australia.

Daryl Impey's stirring Tour Down Under stage win meant much more than just giving his title defence a major boost.

The South African outsprinted race leader Patrick Bevin on the line at Campbelltown and that moved Impey to second overall, seven seconds behind the New Zealander.

It is Impey's first stage win at the race.

Friday's victory was also an outstanding ride and came on the back of more solid team work from the Australian Mitchelton-Scott squad.

But in his finish line TV interview, Impey quickly explained that the stage four success was personal.

His wife's cousin Justin Bitter, a close family friend, died earlier this month of a heart attack and the win was dedicated to him.

"When I left South Africa, I left in a bit of a sad mood and it was a pretty rough time for our whole family - he played a pretty big part," Impey said.

"So when I came here, I wanted to do something special and I was able to deliver today.

"It was pretty emotional and definitely a confidence booster."

Impey also held his nerve on the steep Corkscrew climb near the finish as Australian Richie Porte and the other three in-form mountain goats in the race went on the attack.

Australian teammate Lucas Hamilton paced Impey to the summit and they were in a chase group that quickly caught the lead quartet.

That set up Impey for the sprint to the line and a crucial win for his overall hopes.

"The win was actually due to him," Impey said of Hamilton.

No overall champion in the Tour's 21-year history has won two years in a row and Impey must gain bonus seconds wherever he can ahead of Sunday's decisive stage at Willunga, where the climbers will dominate.

"We're around the mark now ... we have to be aggressive, wherever we can," he said.

Australian Associated Press