Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
1 minute read
18 Jan 2014
8:00 am

SA’s Impey vital cog in the wheel

Wesley Botton

Australian outfit Orica GreenEdge are hoping South African cyclist Daryl Impey will play a leading role as they go in search of their second overall victory at the Tour Down Under.

FILE PICTURE: Daryl Impey. Photo by Michael Sheehan / Gallo Images

Impey, who helped the team win the time trial at last year’s Tour de France and silver at the Road World Championships in Tuscany, will be the only non-Australian rider in the squad’s line-up for the first race of the UCI World Tour season.

“Daryl is a rider we can count on to perform well at the start of the year, and his inclusion in our team is crucial for our goals,” GreenEdge sports director Matt White said on the team’s website.

The trade outfit, racing at home, will hope to regain the title won by Simon Gerrans in 2012.

Gerrans, who heads the seven-man line-up in the six-stage race starting in Adelaide tomorrow, also won the Tour Down Under in 2006, though he was riding for AG2R Prevoyance at the time.

“As an Australian team, this is a very important race for us,” White said.

“We always want to do well at the Tour Down Under. We have a strong team, and everyone is really motivated to bring home some good results in front of our Australian fans.

“We’re targeting stage wins and are focused on the overall victory.” Impey and Luke Durbridge will be expected to lead the team in the sprints by taking turns at the front of the bunch, and White believes the South African is in shape to fulfil his role after working hard at home in the build-up to the 2014 campaign.

“Daryl has been preparing for the start of the season in the southern hemisphere.

“He spends his off-season at home in South Africa, and he’s always able to get in very good training.”