Daryl Impey, who made history last year as the first rider from South Africa to wear Orica-GreenEDGE, has tested positive to the banned masking agent Probenecid (used as a masking agent for hiding the presence of anabolic steroids) three days before the Tour de France.
Impey was a stunning omission when Orica-GreenEDGE announced the team for the July 5-27 Tour. The South African team member was considered to be a crucial support for team leader Simon Gerrans and young sprinter Michael Matthews. Impey and the team confirmed the positive results for his A and B test samples the day the team was named. In a statement on his website, Daryl Impey insisted he was innocent. A statement was also released by Orica-GreenEDGE saying Impey would not race until the case is settled under their code of conduct. The Orica-GreenEDGE statement added the team would like to underline that it respects Daryl Impey’s right to prove his full innocence and will not comment any further until the process has run its due course and final conclusion has been made.
The test was conducted at the South African time trial championship on February 6 but Impey remarked Cycling South Africa President William Newman only told him about the positive A sample test on June 23. Impey flew from Europe back to South Africa to witness the analysis of his B sample test that also came back positive.
Impey remarked he had no knowledge of Probenecid and he had never taken the substance knowingly in any manner. The cyclist further remarked he is committed to drug-free sport and fully intend to take all steps necessary to clear his name of any suspicion and said the notification came as a complete shock to him just days before the start of the Tour de France, particularly since anti-doping tests conducted on him on 8 and 9 February 2014 yielded no adverse results. Impey added he is extremely distressed by the finding, as he has always raced clean throughout my career and added every result that he had achieved to date has been as a result of hard work and dedication on his part and he remains confident that he will be vindicated and proved innocent of any wrongdoing.
Meanwhile, Orica-GreenEDGE manager Shayne Bannan defended the anti-doping regime of the team and added they have nothing to hide. Bannan also urged his Tour de France riders to stay focused in the wake of the news that Daryl Impey is embroiled in a doping scandal. Bannan defended the South African's character and said Impey has had a clean record and he's an honest guy in the time he has been with us.
The positive test of Impey is a huge blow to the image of a team that commissioned anti-doping consultant Nicki Vance for conducting an independent review of their operations and staff in the wake of the Lance Armstrong doping scandal. Impey's positive test comes nearly a year after veteran Stuart O'Grady retired and confessed to doping.