Tour de France: Daryl Impey hails 'big day for African cycling' after taking yellow jersey

Last Updated: 04/07/13 6:13pm

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Daryl Impey finished five seconds ahead of previous leader Simon Gerrans

Daryl Impey finished five seconds ahead of previous leader Simon Gerrans

Sky Bet

Daryl Impey hailed "a big day for African cycling" after becoming the first rider from the continent to claim the yellow jersey at the Tour de France.

The 28-year-old South African took over the race lead from previous maillot jaune Simon Gerrans by finishing five seconds ahead of his Orica-GreenEDGE team-mate on stage six in Montpellier.

It is the biggest accolade of his career and marks another step in the development of African cycling, following on from the MTN-Qhubeka team's victory at Milan-Sanremo in March.

"It is an unbelievable feeling," Impey said. "If you had told me I would ever in my career experience this moment I would tell you that you were lying.

"This is a dream come true and a magical moment. It is a big day for South Africa and a big day for African cycling. It is massive for my family as well. This is a special day.

"Simon got in the jersey because he won stage three and I was really happy to work for him, but it has always been in my reach and I think Simon knew how much this would change my life."

Greipel proud

While Impey celebrated taking yellow, Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) toasted stage victory after holding off Peter Sagan (Cannondale) in second and Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) in third.

It was his first win of this year's race and fifth at the Tour, and also moved him up to second in the points classification behind Sagan.

"It was a really nervous finish," Greipel said. "I told the guys to wait as long as possible and everybody stay together. We hit the front with 2km to go and everybody could see that we have some horsepower in the team.

"We tried to stay focused to take the victory and I am really proud of this team. They always support me and believe in me."

Froome relieved

Meanwhile, Team Sky leader Chris Froome survived another potentially hazardous day in the peloton unscathed to keep his bid for overall victory on track.

He told teamsky.com: "It has been a stressful week so far, but good at the same time. On the whole we have come through it really well as a team and we're sitting in a really good position now heading into the Pyrenees.

"I am definitely looking forward to getting into the harder climbs now. It has been quite nerve-wracking on the flats.

"Everyone is really close on the general classification and everyone is fighting for position, but hopefully once we hit the climbs it is going to open up a little bit more and the race will calm down a bit."

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