Showing an amazing turn of speed in the slightly uphill sprint into Angaston, Tyler Farrar nailed arch rival Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad).
In the first test of the season, the Garmin-Cervelo sprinter showed Cavendish he’s taking no prisoners. His 59th place sent a clear message of superiority to the British rival who finished no better than 62nd. No doubt there was a helmet thrown in anger in the HTC-Highroad bus.
In what was billed as a sprinter’s war, Quick Step fast man Francesco Chicchi could only manage 95th place. It was Quick Step, Slow Pedal as the Sheriff was unable to fire up his turbos. Even nearly definitively retired Lance Armstrong beat the Italian with a strong 81st.
In other race news, it was Matthew Goss who showed Andre Greipel (Omega Druga Lotto) that HTC-Highroad still has the fastest rider in the race. Doing his best Cavendish impersonation, Goss took full advantage of a trademark Mark Renshaw lead-out, then simply hit the gas, never giving Greipel a hope of first. Instant ochre jersey and the overall prize after one round.
“I saw Greipel behind me just as I started to sprint but I wasn’t paying too much attention to that as I was just doing my own race so it worked out well,” said Goss. Several cycling critics noted that Goss had even masted the Cavendish teammate hug at the finish line. Greipel was not only beaten, he was confused — Matthew Goss? I came here to kill Cavendish?
Maybe that was the clever plan HTC-Columbia had in mind. A bait and switch with Greipel focused on the Manxman while Goss steals the show. It worked to perfection and the team opens the season with a win against the top sprinters in pro cycling.
Twisted Spoke is laying down good money that Farrar and Cavendish will improve on their placings tomorrow. 59th place is solid, no question, but a top three would probably be a better idea.