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Daryl Impey (Barloworld) at GP Carnago, his first race back since his crash.
South African returns to European racing
“My heart is split into two. It was certainly not an easy decision to make but obviously I want to race in Europe. My objective is to try and race all the Grand Tours one day (Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta Espana),” Impey said on mtncycling.co.za.
The South African rider rode for Barloworld in 2008 and 2009, joining Team RadioShack in 2010. He then signed with the Pegasus Cycling Project, which failed to get a licence. Impey then returned to his homeland and rode for MTN Qhubeka for the first part of this season.
“It is really admirable of Douglas Ryder (MTN Qhubeka’s team owner) to release me. It shows a lot about his character especially that he is true to his word,” Impey said. “Right from the beginning Douglas made it clear that he would not stand in my way if I get an offer to race for one of the bigger teams in Europe.”
"I am pleased that we have been able to gain Daryl Impey for our team,” said NetApp team manger Ralph Denk. “Daryl is an all-rounder who will support the team in the demanding upcoming racing schedule. He is strong in tours, is an absolute team player and has proven to have a very stable form despite some turbulence in the last six months. We are counting on this morale and performance.”
"My special thanks go to Douglas Ryder, the Team Manager of MTN Qhubeka. He didn't hesitate for a minute and released Daryl immediately to make the switch, despite his important role in the team," Denk added.
“I really enjoyed my time with MTN Qhubeka. My teammates are amazing guys and racing for this team, that is all about providing opportunities to others, was truly special. Who knows what the future may hold,” Impey said. “Maybe in a few years from now, if Douglas manages to base a team in Europe, I might be racing with some of my current teammates again.”
While riding for MTN Qhubeka the last few months, Impey won the South African national time trial title, finished third overall in the Cell C Tour of South Africa, and won a stage on his way to second overall in the Tour du Maroc.
His biggest win in the European peloton was winning the 2009 Tour of Turkey, despite serious injuries suffered in a crash in the finale of the last stage, which kept him out of racing for nearly five months.