Tyler Farrar lost by a half bike length in stage 15 to Montpellier. Mark Cavendish and his HTC train rolled to their fourth victory in this year’s Tour de France. That puts Farrar 18 Tour wins behind the Member of the British Empire.
The talented Garmin-Cervelo sprinter mistimed his sprint, accelerating faster than Cavendish but too late for the finish-line. It was a near miss that drew criticism and raised questions.
Veteran sprinter Robbie McEwen questioned the tactics and organization of both Garmin-Cervelo and Omega Parma-Lotto. “To be honest I expected more [from the other teams] in the final kilometer but they simply weren’t organized enough,” he said via twitter.
Cavendish himself pointed out after the stage that other teams don’t want to ride for the sprint. He couldn’t understand the attitude and said if that was his squad, it would bruise his ego. By the way his ego is doing just fine, thanks.
The question for us, is just what exactly is missing in the sprints for Garmin-Cervelo? Something always seems slightly amiss, a little off in positioning, going to the front too early or too late, some lack of cohesion or commitment or aggressiveness.
In Montpellier, Farrar’s lead-out man Julian Dean admitted himself for not coming off the HTC train fast enough to boost his rider to the win. Always something.
Garmin-Cervelo is a well-drilled and extremely talented squad. They proved in the team time trial that they all ride extremely fast together as a unit. If they can they can win the TTT in impressive fashion, why not a sprint stage?
There’s no question that HTC-Highroad and Cavendish are a dominant combination. And Garmin has three wins so far in this Tour de France. So chapeaus all around.
However, there seems to be something wrong with the argyle express. With time trial champion David Millar, strong man sprinter Thor Hushovd at Farrar’s disposal in a bunch sprint and the experienced Dean, it would seem that the firepower is there.
Only the gun isn’t firing.