Tour de France race leader Impey inks three year contract extension with Orica GreenEdge
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Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Tour de France race leader Impey inks three year contract extension with Orica GreenEdge

by VeloNation Press at 4:01 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
White believes South African rider will continue to improve

Daryl ImpeyEnding a season where he became the first South African to ever lead the Tour de France, Daryl Impey has inked a new three year contract with the Orica GreenEdge team and will remain on board until the end of 2016.

Impey moved to the team prior to the start of the 2012 season and clocked up WorldTour success when he won stage two of the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, and also took a stage of the Tour of Slovenia.

This year continued that progress, with the 28 year old winning the national time trial championships, winning stages of the Vuelta al Pais Vasco and Bayern Rundfahrt, and then leading the Tour de France.

He’s also played important roles in helping team-mates to victories, including Simon Gerrans’ stage three win in the Tour de France plus the Orica GreenEdge TTT success the following day.

Gerrans expressed his thanks when he eased back on stage six and enabled Impey to take over the yellow jersey. He wore it during the next two stages, completing a superb opening week for the team.

“To make the Tour team during the first year was really special,” said Impey, speaking after the news of his contract extension was confirmed. “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 – and that we actually pulled it off – that was the biggest highlight of my career.”

He has been guided by directeur sportif Matt White, who believes that there is more to come from the South African rider.

“Daryl is an invaluable member of our team,” he said. “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 - Gossy’s win at the Giro, Gerro’s win at the Tour, the team time trial at the Tour and second place at Worlds. He’s a very versatile rider that we can use in a lot of different ways.”

“I think we’re going to see him improve a lot more over the next three years. 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.”

Impey has had some difficulties during his career, including a serious crash in the 2009 Tour of Turkey where he had to get facial surgery afterwards. He was then left without a team when the Pegasus setup collapsed before it began, but was able to switch to MTN Qhubeka and then NetApp.

Getting a contract with Orica GreenEdge put him back on track and he has clicked there.

“Everything about these past two years has been incredible,” he stated. “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.

“I need to say a massive thank you to the team for the last two years. 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 – the riders, the staff, the management and all our sponsors.”

Looking ahead to the 2014 season, he once again hopes to make the Tour de France team and has a race plan structured around that.

“My progamme will mostly stay the same as it was last year,” he explained. “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.

“I’m most looking forward to the Tour de France. 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.”

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