Tyler Farrar is keeping tabs on his likely opponents ahead of Milan-San Remo during Tirreno Adriatico. Above all Mark Cavendish, winner of last year’s race.
“You can never write off a rider like him,” Farrar told Cycling Weekly before a freezing first stage in Italy. “The way he has ridden the last two years… Okay, he had a few hiccups in his preparations, but a guy like him gets back in shape fast.”
Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) finished 157th in the opening stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico yesterday, whereas Farrar (Garmin-Transitions) finished sixth, just behind the four man escape group that held their lead after the peloton caught them only to then hesitate in the final kilometre. The Manx sprinter is behind in his preparations for Milan-San Remo due to tooth problems over the off-season, which caused him to miss training and some early season races.
Farrar is uncertain if Cavendish will be his number one rival for the sprinters’ Classic in nine days time. “It is always hard to say in a one day race. There are many guys going strong right now, and so this week will be a big test.”
“Most of the big sprinters are here, some are in Paris-Nice, and we will be able to see how everybody is going this week.”
The sprinters have four chances, according to Farrar, to win in the seven-day stage race from Italy’s west to east coast. Day one, yesterday, was foiled by Linus Gerdemann (Milram), but Farrar believes today and tomorrow could both end up in bunch sprints. “And the final stage, of course, will be a sprint.”
Cavendish won last year’s final stage, four days before he went on to win Milan-San Remo. He was unable to sprint against his US rival, who crashed early in the race and separated his right shoulder.