Daryl Impey Interview: Winning again, but now at WorldTour level
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Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Daryl Impey Interview: Winning again, but now at WorldTour level

by Ed Hood at 8:27 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, Vuelta al Pais Vasco
 
South African speaks after Vuelta al Pais Vasco success

Daryl ImpeyThe volumes on positive mental attitude say; ‘it’s not how far you fall, it’s how high you bounce.’

Given all that’s happened plus his superb stage win on stage two of the Vuelta al Pais Vasco on Tuesday, that phrase may have been written with South African Daryl Impey in mind.

Impey suffered a horrific crash in the final metres of the Presidential Tour of Turkey in 2009 with the yellow jersey on his back – the podium substituted for an ambulance, that day – but he fought back from his injuries.

Then his Barloworld team – for whom he rode the 2008/9 seasons - folded.

However, a contract with Radio Shack took him back up to the sport’s highest level for 2010.

Bur just twelve months ago, he was down at Continental level with South African team MTN Qhubeka - who threw him a lifeline after his contract with stillborn Australian ‘Pro Tour’ outfit Pegasus proved not to be worth the paper it was written on.

MTN were the team he originally turned professional with in 2007.

His results with that squad – including a stage win and second on GC in the Tour of Morocco - saw Pro Continental squad NetApp offer him a contract, and in the autumn it was back to the top division when he signed with fledgling Australian Pro Tour team, GreenEdge.

And on Tuesday, in the second stage of the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais, 166 kilometres over typically Basque terrain – rising and falling all day - from Guenes to Vitoria-Gasteiz, the 27 year-old from Johannesburg grabbed his first World Tour win.

VeloNation spoke to Impey soon after the stage.

VeloNation: You’re back, Daryl!

Daryl Impey: Yes, all riders have bad luck and I’ve had my share but I feel at home with this team and they’re getting the best out of me.

I won that stage in Morocco last year and that picked up the pieces when it came to winning again, but it’s a while since then and I had a bit of a struggle with the champagne on the podium today!

VN: It was an ‘Ekimov special’ go from the red kite effort, wasn’t it?

DI: It was just one of those situations where the stars all aligned for me. It doesn’t happen like that very often – but it was my day.

I saw I had a gap at the first roundabout and then I looked back at the second roundabout, saw I had a bit more of a gap and thought, ‘shit, I’ll just keep going!’

The plan all day was to ride for a bunch sprint for Allan Davis and that was what I was doing when I was at the front. I figured that if I didn’t get it, then it was setting it up nicely for Allan.

He held back from opening the sprint but then he had to react to get the time bonus and we finished one-two.

The team rode really well all day; Christian Meier and Travis Meyer in particular did a lot of pulling.

VN: It looked like a tough stage, six climbs…

DI: There was still a rider away on the last climb and that’s when we decided to ride – but yes, it was cold and wet for much of the day.

VN: Has the significance of your day’s work sunk in, yet?

DI: Not really, I think it will as the season goes on – it’s a priority as an individual rider and for the team to gain UCi points and today was a very important win for me.

VN: And you have the points jersey too?

DI: Rojas still has the lead on points, he was fourth today – but I get to wear the points leader’s jersey, yes because he’ll be wearing the leader’s jersey.

VN: What’s the GreenEdge game plan for the rest of the race?

DI: We’re taking it day by day.

We’re here to work towards the Ardennes Classics; we’ll select a few days where we go for it but I think it would be difficult for us to win overall.

VN: Some riders don’t like the Pais Vasco…

DI: The roads in every region have their own characteristics, they’re not bad so far, not too dangerous – and you only have look at the roads in Belgium!

The hotels have been awesome so far – and there’s not much you can do about the weather.

Daryl ImpeyVN: The team has certainly found its feet quickly…

DI: We started well with the Tour Down Under win.

And whilst it’s hard for any team just starting out it’s a really professional set up and there’s genuine team spirit, which I think makes the difference.

The equipment and clothing are second to none – the Scotts are awesome bikes – you couldn’t really ask for more.

VN: And you found time to get married in the off-season…

DI: Yeah, that was the highlight of my winter.

It gives you a new sense of responsibility and it’s good to know that you’re going home to someone who’s totally supportive of you - it’s a major morale boost.

VN: What’s your programme after the Pais Vasco?

DI: I have the Ardennes Classics – the Amstel, Fleche and Liege.

Then it’s Romandy and the Giro – which I’m really excited about, it’ll be my first Grand Tour.

VN: What’s your next goal?

DI: I’m looking forward to the Ardennes, and whilst in the Giro we’ll be working for Gossy [Matt Goss], there will be stages where I can get a little bit of freedom and look for a nice result.

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