Nearly Man back in action.
Garmin-Sharp sprinter and Belgium-phile, Tyler Farrar won the sprint for second in Dwars door Vlaanderen.
He and the rest of the peloton could not catch a powerful Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) who solo’d in for his second victory in this Belgian classic.
Bummer for Farrar and his Garmin-Sharp squad who worked hard to bring Terpstra back but simply didn’t have the horsepower. It’s good to see Farrar on the podium however — you couldn’t ask for a more thoughtful and classy guy.
It would have been a sweet and redemptive win for Farrar who had yet another disappointing season last year. He was lucky to re-sign with Garmin for one year, which felt a little like team boss Jonathan Vaughters taking pity on the man and tossing one final lifeline.
Today’s Dwars door Vlaanderen was the perfect opportunity to say “thanks, JV.” In the end, second place was nice and yet a major disappointment. “It’s always something special to be on the podium in the classics and it’s really not a bad result but at the same time I’m a bit heartbroken,” said Farrar.
The resident of Ghent has certainly been in this position before at this particular race. “Three years ago we just caught them in the sprint and I was third. This time I was second, and again the winner was just in front of me,” said Farrar. “It’s hard but at the same time it’s a nice result for me.”
A few years ago, Farrar and Garmin decided to experiment with Tyler training to become more of a classics rider than a sprinter. That personality change didn’t yield results so it was back to the drawing board and sprinter intervals.
He had the legs to win but perhaps not the luck. “I was in the front group, I really had super legs today,” said Farrar. “On the descent of the Paterberg, we caught what was left of the breakaway. I was right there. At first I thought this was really perfect, a small group, but then everything came back with 50 or 60 riders.”
Yup, it all came back together except for one crucial rider: the guy who won the race, Tom Boonen’s top lieutenant, Niki Terpstra.
He was all that was standing between Farrar and his first win of the 2014 season. Close but no beer and frites. “Of course I would prefer to win but you have to enjoy second place in a classic too,” said Farrar. “It’s a little bit of all the emotions at the moment.”
Farrar will hope for just one emotion — happiness — if he can put together a strong ride in this Sunday’s Gent-Wevelgem. He was third once before but first place sounds a whole hell of a lot better.