The Orica–Scott rider said his goal had been to “do a good race” after many had been on his case about never having won a major South African event.
“I came to do a big effort and if the win was there I was going to go for it,” he said. “It’s good to get this monkey off my back really.”
The 21st edition of the 95km event started at a frantic pace but the 32-year-old was able to get himself in the perfect position to go with the first major breakaway of the day, which went at around the 40km mark.
“There were a lot of small groups going up the road and eventually a big group formed coming up the M1 highway.
“I jumped across to that and I just kept going from there with a small group of five guys.”
The group quickly shrunk to three as Hoffman and Smit fell behind. It was not long before Hendricks and Beneke did the same.
“After I got myself in the breakaway I used my experience and rode off the other guys,” said Impey.
“I knew there was a little bit of politics between the guys so I used that and got away at the end.”
Impey said he knew to save himself for the final stretch to the finish, where the climbs started to come thick and fast.
“It’s a tough little circuit, especially the back end, it catches up with you,” he said. “For those still out there coming into Steyn City, there are going to be some tired legs out there.”
Impey, who finished third in 2015, said was impressed by the tough competition he faced from the BCX and RoadCover riders.
“I’m on a different level when I race in Europe but coming here after a break, even though I’m in good shape, I definitely had my work cut out for me.”
Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio won the women’s race after she attacked on the final Queen of the Mountain climb.
The 2015 champion finished ahead of Latvia’s Vita Heine (Hi-Tec Products) and Germany’s Christa Riffel (Canyon SRAM Racing).