South African Daryl Impey (ORICA-GreenEDGE) has made history today at the 6th stage of the 100th Tour de France by being the first South African to be on top of the leader board and wear the coveted yellow jersey.
An emotional Impey was well aware of the impact that this will have on his career during the post-race interview. “If you told me that I would experience this moment in my life, I would tell you you were lying. It’s a dream come true, a magical moment. It’s a big day for South African and African cycling. This is a special day.”
When asked if he was helping his teammate Simon Gerrans, the wearer of the yellow jersey during the stage, Impey said: “Simon won stage 3 and I was really happy to work for him. It has always been in my reach and Simon knew how much this would change my life as well. It really showed how he has valued all the effort I have put in for him. He’s a great champion to do that, working in the yellow jersey for Matt Goss today. He could’ve easily sat on the wheel and stayed in yellow. He put all his effort in the team and I was leading out for Matt, so I was fortunate to take the yellow.
Impey also paid credit to previous Tour de France Montpellier stage winner Robert Hunter, acknowledging that he had put South African cycling on the map. “I have always been the second for everything, but today I’m the first for a change. It was a stressful race for us today.”
ORICA GreenEDGE pro cycling team’s Sport Director Matt White said: “Simon (Gerrans) came to me yesterday afternoon and asked if it was okay for him to pass the jersey along to Daryl. I said it was fine. They’re great mates. What they’ve done for each other will never be forgotten. Simon won his stage with the perfect lead-out from Daryl, and he had his two days in yellow. For Daryl to be first South African in yellow, even if it only one day, well, it will change his life forever.”