Armstrong will be in South Africa from March 9-11 as part of a fund-raising initiative for JAG, a Cape Town-based charity. The charity had continued to deny Armstrong would remain in South Africa for the Cycle Tour, which takes place on March 14. However, late last night on the Twitter social media website, Armstrong announced he would be riding in the world’s biggest timed cycling race.
“Hey South Africa! Excited to come down in March. Bringing your man Daryl Impey with me. And yes, we?re racing The Argus. Hear great things,” wrote Armstrong. ?And really looking forward to coming down to SA and working with the JAG Foundation to support all the great work they are doing.”
Impey, the 25-year old South African cyclist, has joined Armstrong’s new United States-based Radioshack team, and is highly regarded as an up-and-coming talent. Impey was selected by Armstrong to take part in the first big race of the 2010 season, the Tour Down Under in Adelaide, Australia last month.
“It’s a privilege for me,” said Impey last night from his European base of Girona, Spain. “It’s time to learn from the master, and also to make a difference to many people’s lives back home. The Argus will be fun to ride. I’ve told Lance all about it, and how it’s so massive in South Africa.”
“Hey, it’s going to be great. Maybe this is the year I can win,” laughed Impey.
Last night, Dave Bellairs, the co-director the Cycle Tour, joked: “Well, has someone told him we are full. No, I’m really, really pleased and over the moon. He is cycling’s superstar and has done more for the global growth of the sport than any rider in history. Having him at the Cycle Tour is massive for us. We knew he would be in town for the JAG Foundation and had hoped he would ride in the race, but his schedule is full this year as he focuses on trying to win the Tour de France for the eighth time. We’ll release more details as soon as we can.”
Armstrong is also said to have all but confirmed he would be riding in the 2011 Absa Cape Epic, the team mountain bike stage race through the Western Cape. Epic race director Kevin Vermaak said last week he had been in constant contact with Armstrong’s management and was confident he would take part next year.