Redon, France doesn’t look much like Santa Barbara, California. The town in Brittany doesn’t have the affluent cache of Santa Barbara which sits on the beautiful southern coastline of California. Better croissant in Redon, but we’ll take the Cali pinot noir.
Nevertheless, Redon must remind Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) of his big win today in the Tour of California. Back in 2011 at the Tour de France, Farrar broke a series of frustrating seconds and thirds by finally beating Mark Cavendish in a sprint finish.
In stage 4 of the Tour of California, Farrar notched up another highlight win. He managed to out-sprint another superstar — the winner of nine stages in the Tour of California and three stages in last year’s Tour. That would be Cannondale’s Peter Sagan.
Sagan is the Fastvakian, the man-child, the scary talent capable of winning grand tour sprints and one day classics and then doing a wheelie to the podium presentation. Only this time around it was the hard-luck Farrar who blasted to the win.
Farrah crossed the line in first ahead of Ken Hanson (Optum) and Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step). Peter Sagan, a dominating force in California, ended up fifth.
“Waking up to the news that Ramunas had won the stage in the Giro was a big morale boost to the team, and it was cool we were able to double up today,” said Farrar after the stage. “I’m psyched. I didn’t have the spring I wanted, I was second, third, fourth. But in sprinting wins are what counts, and I’m happy to get the monkey off my back.”
Between all his crashes, disappointments and bad luck, Farrar knocked several monkeys off his back. He’s shown the calm and serenity of a Buddhist monk. “When your adrenaline is going and the line looks like it’s right there, it’s hard to be patient, but that’s what it took today,” said Farrar. “I could feel it was a cross-headwind and I just waited as long as I could to come around.”
You could argue that no rider has suffered more disappointment that Farrar. As team manager Jonathan Vaughters tweeted “Not much has gone Tyler’s way the last few years. I don’t think folks understood how difficult Wouter’s death was for him. Long road back.” It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy, either.
Back at the Garmin bus, Jacob Rathe described a hard day with a perfect ending. “There was three climbs near the end. It made it really nervous, lots of attacks. The last climb was pretty twisty with some steep inclines,” said Rathe. “We rode perfectly. We had five of us in the final with him. We made more of a team effort. Instead of two or three of us trying to help, it was everyone.”
American Ted King and his Cannondale teammates did everything to put Sagan in a winning position but the plan unraveled in the final kilometers. “The thing that took most people by surprise was the roundabout at two and a half k. There was huge confusion,” said King. “When you’re going 60k an hour, it’s a lot easier said than done to move up. If Peter starts ten back and boxed out, he’s not going to win. C’est la vie — you don’t win every race.”
King’s philosophical French “c’est la vie” and a shrug of his shoulders seems a fitting ending. Because for Farrar, this was a flashback to Redon, France.