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Olympian Impey rewarded with new team contract
- Updated: November 6, 2013
Top international cycling outfit, ORICA-GreenEDGE have announced that South African Olympian Daryl Impey has rejoined the team on a three-year contract.
The first South African to wear the yellow jersey has flourished during his two-year tenure with the Australian team. In 2012, Impey earned his first WorldTour win, made his Grand Tour debut at the Giro d’Italia and solidified his position as one of the world’s best lead-out riders. His strength in the sprint train inspired his selection to the team’s 2012 Tour de France squad.
Impey’s breakthrough season was followed by a second hugely successful year that included stage victories at Bayern-Rundfahrt and Vuelta al Pais Vasco and a starring role in the team’s stunning performances during the first week of the Tour. Impey led out Simon Gerrans for the win on stage three of the Tour de France and played a crucial role in the team’s time trial win in Nice that put Gerrans in yellow, Most memorably, Impey benefited from a touching display of ÔÇ£matesmanshipÔÇØ when Gerrans slipped back in the bunch to pass along the yellow jersey to his teammate, roommate and friend.
ÔÇ£To make the Tour team during the first year was really special,ÔÇØ said Impey. ÔÇ£This year with the yellow jersey and the stage wins and everything that came along with it was even more special. When Simon and I realised that we could both wear the yellow jersey, that we could share it ÔÇô and that we actually pulled it off ÔÇô that was the biggest highlight of my career.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£Everything about these past two years has been incredible,ÔÇØ Impey continued. ÔÇ£The riders, the staff and the management are all so supportive. The way we lift each other up to lift the whole level of the team has made this team what it is today. We started from scratch with the attitude that this team isn’t just about one or two individuals. One rider is just as important as the next. We’ve stayed true to that idea, and look at what we’ve accomplished.ÔÇØ
While Impey has clearly made huge strides over the last two years, Sport Director Matt White is convinced that the best is yet to come from their prot├®g├®. Much has been made of Impey’s ability to help his teammates secure major victories, White looks forward to giving Impey more opportunities for personal success.
ÔÇ£Daryl is an invaluable member of our team,ÔÇØ said White. ÔÇ£He has gone to another level since he joined us two years ago. He has proven that he’s a super teammate and that he is critical to the team’s overall success. We’ve seen that repeatedly over the past two years. He’s been a part of most of our biggest wins ÔÇô Gossy’s win at the Giro, Gerro’s win at the Tour, the team time trial win at the Tour and second place at Worlds. He’s a very versatile rider that we can use in a lot of different ways.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£I think we’re going to see him improve a lot more over the next three years,ÔÇØ White added. ÔÇ£We’ve seen him win some great races over the last two years, but we know he’s capable of even bigger wins. We’re certainly going to give him more opportunity to show that over the next thee years.ÔÇØ
Despite the team’s confidence in him and the promise of bigger things on the horizon, Impey remains amazingly grounded. Answering questions about his objectives for next year he talks about ÔÇ£if he makes the Tour team.ÔÇØ His humility goes hand-in-hand with his hard work.
ÔÇ£You don’t become a race winner or race leader without doing the dirty work,ÔÇØ said Impey. ÔÇ£I’ve learned how to look after the big riders and shoulder responsibility to my teammates and myself. This team gives everyone a chance, but they also keep me on my toes. Nothing is guaranteed.
ÔÇ£Think about it this way ÔÇô I took someone else’s spot when I was put in the Tour team two years ago,ÔÇØ Impey added. ÔÇ£If I took someone’s spot, one of the new guys or younger guys could take mine.ÔÇØ
Impey expects a similar programme to the past two years. He hopes to peak in the spring and return to top form again in July.
ÔÇ£My programme will mostly stay the same as it was last year,ÔÇØ said Impey. ÔÇ£I’ll fly out to Australia next month. After that, it’s Oman and Tirreno. The biggest goals in the first half of the season are Milan San Remo and Amstel Gold.
ÔÇ£I’m most looking forward to the Tour de France,ÔÇØ said Impey. ÔÇ£It’s the biggest race of the season for the team. I’m really hoping to make selection and go back to the race to repeat some of the success we had this year. It’s hard to do, but it’s always nice to have a big challenge. I think we’re all looking forward to reaching for the stars again.ÔÇØ
Impey has repeatedly extended his gratitude to the team for the lifeline they threw him two years ago. His recruitment to GreenEDGE came at a pivotal point in his career.
Until joining Australia’s first WorldTour team, Impey was an under-rated all-rounder known more for his horrific crash at the Tour of Turkey and troubled seasons with teams tainted by financial woe than his raw strength, unflappable nature and limitless potential.
ÔÇ£I need to say a massive thank you to the team for the last two years,ÔÇØ said Impey. ÔÇ£It’s an easy decision to be part of a team that is so giving and so appreciative of what you do for the team. In the same vein, I’m really thankful to everyone involved with the team ÔÇô the riders, the staff, the management and all our sponsors. To have a major backer like Gerry [Ryan], who puts in so much effort and time along with money, is huge.”