Placing himself in contention once again, defending champion Daryl Impey won the fourth stage of the Tour Down Under in Australia on Friday.
Turning out for the Mitchelton-Scott team, the South African rider surged past Patrick Bevin of New Zealand (CCC) to take the 129.2km leg between Unley and Campbelltown in 3:03:27.
Bevin retained his lead in the general classification, with Impey climbing to second place overall, just seven seconds off the pace with two stages remaining.
“A good friend of mine passed away from a heart attack recently, so I left (South Africa) in a bit of a sad mood and it was a pretty tough time for our whole family,” an emotional Impey revealed after his stage victory.
“When I came here I wanted to do something special, and to be able to deliver today was pretty emotional and definitely a confidence booster.”
Impey admitted his team had some work to do over the weekend if he was going to secure the overall title at the World Tour race for the second year in a row, but he believed they could chase Bevin down and retain the crown.
“I think we have to be aggressive wherever we can,” he said.
“There’s no doubt that trying to win this race is based on seconds – we learned that last year – so we’re going to have to try to take our opportunities and make things happen, and hopefully it pays off.”
Also carrying the South African flag, Ryan Gibbons was lying fifth in the general classification for Team Dimension Data ahead of the 149.5km penultimate stage on Saturday.