Daryl Impey (MTN/Qhubeka) is definitely one of the most successful riders when it comes to winning medals at the South African Road Championship.
During the past eight years he won no less than four medals (three gold and one silver).
To put things into perspective it should be mentioned that Impey did not even compete in the 2005 and 2008 road championships. In fact this means that he won four medals in six years.
He also belongs to a small elite group of cyclists who can boast of having won two gold medals at the same championship. In 2003 he was the SA u.23 time-trial as well as road champion. The next year he successfully defended his time-trial title.
In 2009, in Oudtshoorn, Impey finished second in the pro-elite road race.
Taking all these statistics into account, it is clear that Impey is a man to be taken seriously when he declares that it is his intention to win more medals at the SA road Championship in Port Elizabeth, beginning on Thursday (3 February).
“I have something to prove to myself and the international cycling community. Therefore I set myself the goal of winning as many races as possible. It is the only way to ensure that I will again have the opportunity to race internationally,” said Impey, who rode for Lance Armstrong’s RadioShack Team last year.
According to Impey he is in good form.
“I think I am in the same form as when I won the Tour of Turkey.”
Impey admits that he might be slightly rusted when it comes to racing an individual time trial.
“It has been a few years since I have last competed in a time trial, so I don’t know how it will turn out. But I am confident that I will be able to win a medal.”
It is not clear who Impey’s main rivals in the pro-elite time trial will be.
“There is always one rider who surprises everybody in the race against the clock. I know Burry Stander (Specialized/Mr Price) and Conrad Stoltz (four times Xterra World Champion) will put in good performances.
“The secret of riding a good time trial is not to worry about what the other riders are doing or not doing, because you cannot control their performances.
“For me a time trial boils down to yourself, your bicycle and the stopwatch. The challenge is to be able to push yourself to the absolute limit for 40 kilometers, while staying totally focused. Having done that, you can only hope for the best.”
As far as the road race is concerned, Impey says he will do his utmost to win.
“I have not yet had an opportunity to discuss race tactics with my MTN/Qhubeka teammates, because some of my teammates are still competing in Malaysia’s Tour de Langkawi and others in the Tour of Gabon.
“My opinion is that our main focus should be to go for gold in the pro-elite road race. One of the most sought after trophies in international cycling is to wear your country’s national jersey for a whole year.
“It is good to win the SA u.23 title but, because we do not often get the opportunity to compete in u.23-races in South Africa, basically the only chance to wear the jersey is at the next year’s national championship.
“Therefore, it might be a good idea for us to have only one goal, namely to win the pro-elite race. If we could manage to control the race properly, there would be an excellent chance that one of our u.23 teammates would anyway win the u.23-title.”