Mitchelton-Scott sports director Matt White has heralded Daryl Impey following a one-two finish the South African was pivotal in delivering at the Tour Down Under.
Sophie Smith

Cycling Central
18 Jan 2018 - 4:15 AM 

Impey piloted Caleb Ewan to line honours at the end of the gutsy second stage to Stirling before holding on to claim runner-up for himself ahead of Jay McCarthy (BORA-hansgrohe).

“I didn't know it Caleb was next to me, I just saw a white jersey so I thought it was Sagan, then finally once we got a bit closer I saw it was him and that we were in that position so it was really good," Impey said.

“It just shows how fresh we were at the end to go one, two. The team did a great job so we didn’t have to do too much all day and we could conserve quite a bit of energy.

“It was nice to run second, it was unexpected and I think from that point everybody is certainly very happy, we couldn’t do much better than that.”

Ewan claimed the happy circumstance was unintentional, with he and his teammate each believing the other was world champion Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe), who faded to fourth.

Ewan in ochre after Stirling effort
Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott) rocketed to the win and a stint in the ochre leader's jersey after grabbing a lift on Peter Sagan's (BORA-hansgrohe) wheel on the uphill drag to the finish in Stirling on Stage 2 of the Santos Tour Down Under.

"I didn't actually know that he'd got second. I thought he'd done the lead-out and then sat-up. I was just focused on beating Sagan at that point," the new race leader said.

"He actually said he kept sprinting because he thought I was Sagan. I don't think he's too disappointed."

However, White underpinned just how important the understated Impey's impression was, not just here in Adelaide but in the long tenure he's observed with the team. The South African has competed for incarnations of Mitchelton-Scott since 2012 and over that time assisted virtually all of its most prolific winners.

"He's the most versatile bike rider in our team," White said.

"He's the first guy I'd take to nearly any bike race on the calendar because he can do everything. He can lead-out uphill, he joins in flat sprints, he rides team trial world championships.

"He's a very valuable guy and we've known that since the start. He's only getting better with age."

Impey, 33, is set to support Ewan through some but not all of the sprinter's race program up to and including the Tour de France where Mitchelton-Scott has the daunting task of balancing its overarching general classification ambitions with race debutant Ewan's sprint agenda.

"Daryl will be part of the Tour group and some other key races - Tirreno [Adriatico], Milan-San Remo - but not everything [with Ewan]," White said.

"[They] will do a lot of races together but we've got a combination of guys like Luka Mezgec, who will be doing everything with him [Ewan] from when we get back to Europe all the way through to the Tour."