Recovering from a wobbly patch, Daryl Impey managed to summon a late sprint, charging across the line to win the first stage of the Criterium du Dauphine race in France on Monday.
The South African rider rocketed up the overall standings at the UCI World Tour contest, settling in second place in the general classification (GC) after covering the 179km stage from Valence to Saint-Just-Saint-Rambert in four hours, 24 minutes, 26 seconds (4:24:26).
Polish rider Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky), who won the 6.6km prologue on Sunday, held on to the overall lead. He was two seconds ahead of Impey.
“It was a tough day all day. I actually didn’t feel too good… so I surprised myself at the end,” Impey told the Mitchelton-Scott website.
By taking the stage win, the South African rider built on a solid 2018 season which had seen him making an impact both at home and abroad.
After opening his UCI World Tour campaign with a maiden GC victory at the Tour Down Under in Australia in January, he went on to snatch the road race and time trial titles at the national championships in February.
Impey was delighted to add another notch to his career belt, as he continued to play a lead role for the Mitchelton-Scott outfit in the top-flight global series.
“To win in Dauphine, it is a big race, so I am really chuffed,” he said.
“Sometimes the guys think you will be one of the favourites, but to think that as well is a different thing.
“Today I just kept fighting to the end and it was nice to show myself that I could be there.”
The second of eight stages in the Dauphine contest, a key battle in the build-up to the Tour de France next month, will take the peloton 181km from Montbrison to Belleville on Tuesday.