South African Daryl Impey added an individual stage win to his Tour de France happy memories when he prevailed at the end of a long breakaway from St Etienne on Sunday.
The Mitchelton Scott rider, who wore the race’s yellow jersey for a couple of days in 2013, beat Belgian Tiesj Benoot in a two-man sprint after the duo went clear from the day’s breakaway.
Slovenia’s Jan Tratnik took third place, 10 seconds behind as France’s Julian Alaphilippe retained the overall lead after 170.5 kilometres, with the top guns enjoying an easy day on a bumpy stage nine.
“Pretty much, for me, from a Tour de France perspective, a stage win was something really missing. I made quite a few breakaways in the past few years and finally, today, I got the win on Bastille Day. It’s fantastic,” Impey told reporters.
“It’s a dream come true. It’s so difficult to win at this level. I kind of marked this stage. I was kind of lucky to find the right move. We worked all well together.
“I am glad the legs were there at the end to beat Tiesj Benoot. I haven’t been emotional like that for a long time.”
Frenchman Romain Bardet, a two-time podium finisher who has already lost considerable ground in the general classification, attacked on the Cote de St Just (3.6km at 7.2%), 13 kilometres from the finish.