Family proud of Daryl’s yellow jersey win
GRANT Impey recalls the day his brother Daryl won the Presidential Tour of Turkey cycle challenge in 2009. It was a bittersweet moment for the Impey family. Though he had the yellow jersey on his back, Daryl had also crashed badly, leaving him with a broken jaw and a fractured spine in the final metres of the race. Paramedics patched him up and he crossed the finish line in a neck brace.
That particular performance summed up Daryl’s attitude towards cycling and life. He just doesn’t give up, says his brother Grant.
His hard work and determination showed this week when Daryl made Tour de France history by becoming the first South African and African to take possession of the Tour de France yellow jersey.
Germany’s Andre Greipel, of Lotto, dominated a bunch sprint to win the sixth stage of the race, held over 176.5km between Aix- enProvence and Montpellier, ahead of Slovakian Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and German Marcel Kittel (Argos), on Thursday. The 29-yearold Impey, who rides for Orica- GreenEdge, did enough to take over the race lead from his Australian teammate Simon Gerrans.
His brother Grant watched at work on live streaming as his brother received the yellow jersey.
“It was a very special moment for us as a family,” he said. “Daryl has not only done us proud but also done the African continent proud.”
Grant said his brother had called him after the race on Thursday night, and he could hear the excitement in his voice.
“He was on cloud nine when I spoke to him,” he said. “I don’t think it had sunk in properly by then, but he was overjoyed at what he had achieved.”
His father Tony said the family had celebrated last night after their son had been handed the yellow jersey.
“We called a few family members over and opened a bottle of champagne to celebrate Daryl’s achievement,” said a beaming Tony.
“We have always been proud of Daryl since he was a young boy, but now we are more proud after he achieved something that no African has done before.”
Tony, who was a pro cyclist in his days and now owns a cycling shop at Bedford Centre in Joburg, said the family had been inundated with messages of congratulations from friends and family.
Tony said Daryl’s first bike was a BMX.
“Daryl has always loved cycling, since he was a very young boy,” he said. “He got on to his first bike at six years old and ever since then he has never looked back and has grown from strength to strength.”
Joel Ngwenya, who has serviced Daryl’s bikes for the last 25 years, said he couldn’t be happier for him.
“I’ve known Daryl since he was a young boy, and he was always an active boy who was passionate about cycling, so I am not surprised by his achievements,” said Ngwenya.
Ngwenya even has a personal nickname for Daryl, he calls him “Legstrong” Impey.
“The boy can ride a bike and has a very special talent. I told his mom and dad that Daryl would one day ride among the best cyclists in the world and now he is, so I am not surprised at all.”
Ngwenya described Daryl as a friendly and loving boy.
“I haven’t once seen Daryl being angry with anyone, that’s just not him,” he said. “He is a happy-golucky chap.”
Daryl, who studied at Jeppe Boys High School in Joburg, will return to South Africa in September during his off season to spend time with his family.
He lives in Spain with his cycling team.
His brother Grant said they look forward to having him back.
“Everybody fights for time with Daryl when he comes back to SA. I for one look forward to spending quality time with my boet when he returns.”
PIONEER: Daryl Impey, wearing the overall leader’s yellow jersey, and Andy Schleck of Luxembourg, left, ride in the pack during the seventh stage of the Tour de France.