Daryl Impey successfully defended his national title in the individual time trial at the 2014 Time Freight South African Road Cycling Championships in Durban. With a winning time of 50’48 over the 40 kilometre course, Impey averaged 47.24 kilometres per hour to secure his third national time trial title (2011, 2013, 2014). Jay Thomson (Team MTN-Qhubeka) took the silver medal 31” behind Impey while four-time Xterra World Champion Conrad Stoltz (Specialized Racing) rounded out the podium at 1’43.
“A lot of people had a lot of expectations after the year I had last year,” said Impey. “I put a lot of pressure on myself as well. I didn’t want to come back to South Africa to lose the jersey. It was really important for me to win today.”
“It’s a bit of relief,” Impey admitted. “I had more to lose than to gain, so there was quite a lot of pressure in that way. It’s always a pleasure to ride back home, and it’s even better when I win on home soil. I’m happy to take the jersey back to Europe again. It puts South Africa on the map at a lot of the bigger races we do.”
The 40 kilometre course consisted of a single 8 kilometre loop rode five times in succession. Run over flat roads, round-abouts provided the main point of interest on the loop.
“The course was pretty straightforward,” noted Impey. “It was always important to take any breather I could get and not lose any times in the corner. The round-abouts made things interesting, and there was a little bit of wind as well.”
“My main strategy was to be consistent,” Impey added. “I wanted a smooth ride. I haven’t done as much time trial prep this year as I had done last year, but coming off the Tour Down Under, I was quietly confident I would put in a good ride. I knew I had to keep Jay in my sights, and I did that. All went according to plan.”
With a successful time trial behind him, Impey now switches his focus to the road race on Sunday. The three time trial champion has never won the national road title and would love to add the jersey to his collection. Facing a strong MTN-Qhubeka squad, Impey knows he needs to ride a smart race to pull off the double.
“The road race is going to be difficult,” said Impey. “MTN is quite strong collectively, and there are other teams with riders that could win the title, too. I’m going to need a bit of luck on my side on the day.”
“My condition is good enough to put up a good fight,” Impey added. “Winning the time trial certainly takes the pressure off a little bit. That being said, I’ve never been South African road champion, and I would love to do the double. Hopefully I can be in the right place at the right time and make the right decision to come away with the jersey.”