'I didn't know if I was going to get back on the top step': Daryl Impey on 'special' Tour de Suisse victory after breaking pelvis in 2021

South African takes first win in over two years, his first for Israel-Premier Tech

Daryl Impey
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It has been a long year for Daryl Impey. The Israel-Premier Tech rider spent most of last year on the sidelines after he broke his pelvis and collarbone after a heavy crash at the Ruta del Sol in May 2021.

The final seven months of last year were spent mostly convalescing; he did three late-season Italian one-day races, but to no great effect. This season has seen the South African still feeling his way back, but now he finally is.

There have been 28 months since his last victory, at the South African time trial championships, and almost three years since his last WorldTour win, at the Tour de France in 2019. However, on Wednesday, Impey turned back the clock and stormed to victory on stage four of the Tour de Suisse.

”I’m ecstatic," he said immediately post-stage. "It was a tough day. The competition is so good these days with the young guys, and after everything that happened last year, I didn’t know if I was going to get back on top of the step.

"To finally pull off a victory after all of the hard times is special. I had great support from the team and from my family at home. I’m really happy to win.“

The 37-year-old revealed earlier this year that he had to learn how to walk again, that was how serious the accident at the Ruta del Sol last year was; he ended up spending eight weeks off the bike, so this is a remarkable comeback.

“I think that once I can get over the fear of racing in the peloton and forget about all the bad crashes and things like that, I’ll have a change of perspective and will start thinking about winning races," he told VeloNews (opens in new tab) earlier this year.

The change of perspective seems to have worked, at a crucial point for both Impey and his Israel-Premier Tech team. The win is just the sixth of the year, and the second at WorldTour level after Patrick Bevin's sprint win at the Tour de Romandie at the end of April.

Israel-Premier Tech are in dire need of UCI points in order to remain in the WorldTour, so the 60 points won on Wednesday will feel well-deserved. Not that Impey will be thinking of that, however. He will just be glad to be back at the pointy end of races, winning things again.

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Adam is Cycling Weekly’s senior news and feature writer – his greatest love is road racing but as long as he is cycling on tarmac, he's happy. Before joining Cycling Weekly he spent two years writing for Procycling, where he interviewed riders and wrote about racing, speaking to people as varied as Demi Vollering to Philippe Gilbert. Before cycling took over my professional life, he covered ecclesiastical matters at the world’s largest Anglican newspaper and politics at Business Insider. Don't ask how that is related to cycling.