‘Back-a-buddy’ strategy works for Daryl Impey and Team SA

South Africa’s Daryl Impey bagged a silver medal in the men’s cycling road race at the Commonwealth Games on Sunday.
Daryl Impey missed out on this year’s Tour de France due to Covid-19 but the 37-year-old showed no lingering effects of the illness as he sprinted to the silver medal in a thrilling men’s road race.
The vastly experienced South African followed New Zealand’s Aaron Gate over the line in 3hr 28min 29sec after a cat-and-mouse affair over the 160km route, where pre-race favourite Mark Cavendish was trapped early in the peloton and lost contact with the front groups as the lead regularly changed hands.
Former Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas had launched a dramatic late attack, hoping to avoid a sprint finish and secure gold. However, Fred Wright of England along with the remnants of the day’s leading group, hauled back the Welshman.
Wright opened up his sprint for the line, but Gate had too much speed. Impey got going to finish second, with a huge smile on his face as he crossed the line. And why not? At the age of 37, a Commonwealth Games silver medal will sit beautifully on a CV that is as long as his arms.
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One of the unsung heroes of the race was 26-year-old Morne van Niekerk, who was in the lead group for long periods of the race and helped make it a true pace. He did a lot of work for his teammate but couldn’t get into contention for the sprint and finished 12th, about 26 seconds behind the winner. However, Impey will have been singing his teammate’s praises afterwards.
There were two other Team SA cyclists in the race, Callum Ormiston (37th) and Gustav Basson, who, like Cavendish, was hauled off the road 144km into the race.
Impey’s silver medal takes Team SA’s haul at these Games to 27 – seven gold, nine silver and 11 bronze.
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“To get my first medal for Team SA at the age of 37 at such a prestigious event is really nice. We had a super team today. We might have been down in numbers compared to others and we were less experienced, but they rode like ...