Sometimes a sprint victory takes forever – like months.
Tyler Farrar waited and waited and thought he would finally beat Mark Cavendish in this year’s Tour de France.
The Garmin rider was in great form and his lead-out train was stronger but a slippery stage two on the Col de Stockeu ruined everything. Fractured wrist, eventual abandon and Cavendish running wild, winning five stages.
Well, Tyler Farrar finally got his Tour de France sprint victory over Cavendish — he simply had to wait until September in the Vuelta.
The magic day was Wednesday, stage five, from Guadex to Lorca, almost 200k of up and down but a nice flat finish. Cavendish will claim he mis-timed his sprint, but Farrar blew past him in the final 100 meters. Koldo Fernandez of the Orange Basque telephone boys took second. (Cavendish has been beaten by a Yauheni and a Klodo in this Vuelta.)
“Of course it’s always nice to win against the best sprinter in the world but it’s even better to win a stage at the Vuelta. I’m very happy,” Farrar said. “Winning always helps to build confidence. There are still a lot of sprints to come at the Vuelta. I’m already happy with one win. Any other one coming after today’s would be a bonus.”
It’s a sweet win and a juicy reward for Farrar’s patience. The battling Buddhist never throws helmets or kicks furniture, spits or spews. Twisted Spoke fears that Tyler is just too damn nice but put him on a race bike and get him to the last 1000 meters of a ProTour sprint and he’s as nasty as anyone. Okay, maybe not as nasty as Renshaw but, you know, feisty.
“The wind made the sprint a little bit crazy. It was easy for riders to come from behind, but I like this kind of very fast sprint. When Cavendish went on the right, I was able to take his wheel,” said Farrar.
It was mano a mano in Lorca as both Cavendish and Farrar missed their trains. The British rider was without Bernard Eisel, Mark Renshaw and substitute lead-out man Matthew Goss punctured with 5k to go. Farrar was also on his own since Julian Dean is still suffering from his crash in the opening team time trial.
“It was a little strange today because I was alone. Normally in a stage like this, we have riders working at the front but I was not confident after suffering during yesterday’s stage. Today I felt better and better. Only with 20km to go I told my teammates that I was up for the sprint,’ said Farrar.
“I didn’t have a real lead-out man since Julian Dean is still injured. In the last 10 kilometers, Matt Wilson did absolutely fantastic work. When he took me where I had to be with 2km to go, it was just up to me after that.”
His teammate Christian (still upright) Vande Velde celebrated Farrar’s win with a gourmet tweet: “winner, winner, chicken dinner.” Okay, now we know what’s on the Garmin menu tonight: pomegranate juice and el pollo.