IMPEY SAYS FAREWELL ON A HIGH NOTE
By Bardy the Action Scribe
Daryl Impey will be riding mostly abroad for Team Barloworld in 2008, but he left his beloved MTN Microsoft team with a fantastic farewell gift when he claimed the inaugural Pro Series title this week.
The Pro Series was created this year by Cycling South Africa, with Supercycling TV show as its media partner, and is the country’s most prestigious road racing series for Elite and Under-23 men. It was run on a points system over 10 high profile events. The winner is regarded as the country’s most consistent top road cyclist, a description that fits Impey perfectly.
After nine events, Impey held a slim 10-point lead over Neotel’s Jaco Venter going into the 101km Burger Tour in the Western Cape last weekend, and a12-point lead over Neotel’s fiery sprint ace, Nolan Hoffman. Not surprisingly, Impey and his MTN Microsoft team kept a close eye on the Neotel squad at the final leg of the Series.
Neotel’s Johan Rabie secured the win ahead of Darren Lill and Nicholas White (MTN Microsoft) after the three riders formed an early break that stayed clear to the finish. The top of the Pro Series standings were unaffected with Venter finishing seventh, Impey eighth and Hoffman 33rd following a crash. The three-man break had taken the bulk of the points on offer.
“We wanted to the control the race and with Nic going off the front early and, with Johan following him, we were pretty happy because we didn’t want to take Nolan to the line in a big bunch sprint,” explained Impey.
“Ja, it was good to win the Pro Series because it was one of our team’s goals for 2007,” said Impey. “I expect the Series will become a permanent fixture locally and that it will develop prestige and big prizemoney over time.”
Fittingly, MTN Microsoft also ended the Series as the top team, appropriate following a hugely successful year, which saw the team win over 70 percent of the races they contested. White, Jamie Ball and Neil MacDonald were all in the top 10 in the final standings.
“I must thank my teammates for helping me win the Pro Series,” said Impey. “They have been amazing. I was given more freedom this year and it boosted my confidence as well as my ability to win more often. I learned so much over the past five years from this team, especially from Nic White and Malcolm Lange.”
Impey said he had mixed emotions following his final race for MTN Microsoft.
“I’m excited about next year with Team Barloworld, but I’m also sad to be leaving MTN Microsoft where I have built up some very strong bonds with the guys. My only regret was that I wasn’t able to win the Pick ‘n Pay 94.7, but I am pleased I was able to leave the team on a winning note with the Pro Series,” he said.Final CSA Supercycling Pro Series Standings
1 Daryl Impey (MTN Microsoft) 72 points
2 Jaco Venter (Neotel) 62
3 Nolan Hoffman (Neotel) 60