It may be a full 12 months later than he would have liked to be joining the WorldTour with an Australian team, but Daryl Impey says he is just happy to have finally made it with GreenEdge. The former Barloworld and NetApp rider faced a potentially career-ending situation when he was told in December of last year that Pegasus was in fact not going to be joining the sport’s top tier – and that they could not honour his contract.
The South African is confident, however, that this project is different.
"It’s been quite a long road since we got to know that Pegasus was not happening," Impey told Cyclingnews at the launch of GreenEdge in Adelaide.
"I raced with MTN and then with NetApp and it was always my number one priority to get back to Europe. I went pretty well at the Tour of Austria [second in stage 3] and I was delighted to be able to join an all-English speaking team where all the guys are friends. It makes it easier to fit in."
Impey said that any comparisons between the two projects end at them both being Australian.
"The November training camp we had with Pegasus was like a holiday," he recalls. "A lot of us left with a strange feeling, thinking ‘that was a weird camp.’
"On the other hand, everything was ready for the November camp of GreenEdge: the staff, the physios - everything. After meeting with [financial backer] Gerry [Ryan], I had no worries at all. This team has got a big future."
On his time with Barloworld and a Giro debut
Impey previously had the illusion that Barloworld would be the first team from the Southern Hemisphere in the big league, but the South African company stopped their sponsorship at the end of 2009.
"We had the opportunity in South Africa to be as big as GreenEdge," said Impey. "But I think other countries can take a great lead from the example of GreenEdge - cycling can only benefit having more teams on the world stage," added the South African national time trial champion.
Impey is hoping to make his Grand Tour debut at the Giro d'Italia in May of this year. He's previously been in the mix to start a Grand Tour with Barloworld, but circumstances got in the way.
"I’ve always been unlucky at the time of Grand Tour selection but I finally had an injury-free season last year," said Impey. "Fingers crossed I'll be in Italy this year."