Though he was delighted to have found consistency at the highest level, Daryl Impey admitted he had to work hard and draw on his vast experience to outclass a full-strength Dimension Data team at the SA Road Cycling Championships in Pretoria last week.
After winning his eighth career national title in the time trial event, Impey wrapped up another impressive double on Sunday’s final day of racing by retaining his road race crown.
Despite making a solo charge, the Mitchelton-Scott rider managed to hold off an onslaught from the local Di-Data outfit.
“I just wanted to fight for it. Win, lose or draw, I wanted to go all in,” Impey said.
“Even though they threw everything at me I rode intelligently and used my experience.”
Impey, a multiple World Championships medallist in the team time trial and the first African rider to have worn the yellow jersey at the tour de France, believed he had taken a big step forward by repeating the spectacular start he had to his 2018 campaign.
Impey became the first South African to retain a World Tour title when he won the Tour Down Under in Australia last month, before finishing third at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race for the second year in a row.
While he had dominated the individual time trial at the national championships in recent years, he won the double for the first time last season.
Achieving another repeat in the capital city, he was eager to carry his form onto the European circuit as the international campaign gained momentum.
“I didn’t think I would be taking the (national champion’s) jersey back to Europe just because I had the odds against me,” Impey said.
“It just shows you it is never over till it’s over. I am backing myself more and it is a great step forward in my career.”