‘My son has gone from being a national hero to a villain’

2014-07-04 00:00

CAPE TOWN — South African cyclist Daryl Impey’s father says his son may have gotten an illegal substance into his system by eating contaminated food.

It was announced on Wednesday that Impey, who wore the yellow jersey during last year’s Tour de France, failed an anti-doping test for the masking agent Probenecid.

Probenecid is used to mask the use of doping substances, anabolic drugs in particular.

Impey (29) was not included in Orica-GreenEdge’s nine-man Tour de France team, which came as a surprise when the Australian outfit made their announcement on Tuesday.

Impey released a statement in which he insisted he had no knowledge of Probenecid and he had never taken the substance knowingly in any manner.

His dad, Tony Impey, said a testing period lies in wait for the cyclist.

“The withdrawal [from the Tour de France] could cripple him financially, and then his sponsors are also waiting on the results of the hearing,” Tony, who owns a cycle shop in Bedfordview, told the ­Beeld website.

“He will have to pay a lot on legal fees and expert analysis to prove his innocence.”

When asked how he thought his son could have gotten the substance in his system, Tony replied: “Presumably through contaminated food.”

“We are all very concerned. How do you prove something you’re not even aware of. Daryl is shattered because he’s currently a much better cyclist than last year and he was eager to again make history this year. In a year’s time, my son has gone from being a national hero to a villain who everybody wants to crucify.”

Last year, Impey became the first African rider to wear the yellow jersey on the Tour de France when he led the overall standings during stages 6 and 7.

This year’s Tour de France starts in Leeds, England tomorrow.

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