First South African leader in the Tour de France

DARYL IMPEY became the first South African to wear the leader’s jersey in the race’s 110-year history on Thursday.

“History made, so it’s one of South Africa’s proudest moments. I’m sure everybody’s going crazy back home,” Impey said. “For me to wear the yellow jersey now, I’m sure it will be something special.”

“It will definitely change my life. The rugby players are obviously a little bit higher profile because it’s one of our major sports,” he said. “Hopefully people will start recognizing me, maybe.”

He also hopes it will help promote the sport even more.

After two days tailored for the sprinters, the Tour de France moves slowly towards the Pyrenees today with the 205-kilometre seventh stage from Montpellier to Albi. But before the really big climbs of Saturday and Sunday, there should not be too much punishment for the peloton, even if there are a total of four categorised ascents on the menu. The most testing of those will be the category two Col de la Croix de Mounis, while the last, the category four Cote de Teillet is 34.5 km from the finishing line.

Spain’s Alberto Contador was the leading rider most badly affected by the first pile-up of the Tour, he suffered injuries to both shoulders, a sore right knee and a bad cut on his left elbow. Fifteen riders were injured in that and a smaller crash preceding it in a chaotic finale to the Tour’s opening stage which also saw a team bus stuck under the finish gantry, barely 15 minutes before the riders, racing at nearly 40mph, got there themselves.

Contador is hoping to show some progress during the mountain climbs with the rest of his team today before the big push at the weekend.

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