American Tyler Farrar won his first race of the year in a sprint this morning in De Panne, Belgium. Garmin-Transitions team-mate Millar hopes to continue on the success in the afternoon time trial, taking 12 seconds off leader Luca Paolini for The Three Days of De Panne overall win.
“I hope he wins. I think there is the potential for him to win the TT and the overall,” Farrar said. “This could be a nice for Garmin-Transitions if he does it.”
His win over Robert Wagner (Skil-Shimano) and Kenny Van Hummel (Skil-Shimano) will encourage Millar. Millar finished in the group with race leader Paolini (Acqua & Sapone) and trails Paolini and potential overall winner, Andriy Grivko (Astana), by 12 seconds.
Farrar has come close on numerous occasions this year, including in Qatar and Oman, and at Ghent-Wevelgem Sunday.
“The first is always the hardest and after coming so close so many times it was getting frustrating. There really hasn’t been so many opportunities for a sprint this season with all the bad weather, which broke up the races a lot of times,” Farrar explained.
“It is good to finally get one.”
His win came after an escape of six men battled the windy stage around the costal town of De Panne. Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Bobbie Traksel (Vacansoleil), Klaas Lodewyck (Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator), Niko Eeckhout (An Post), Dieter Cappelle (Verandas Willems) and Aleksejs Saramotins (HTC-Columbia) rode clear 19 kilometres into the 112-kilometre stage.
Teams Garmin and Katusha (for Robbie McEwen) had the escape in its grips, though, with three kilometres to race. The scene was prepared for Farrar to take win number 1, only a short drive from his adopted city of Ghent.
“We are even closer to Izegem, where I lived as an Under 23 rider,” Farrar continued. “I had a lot of friends cheering me on today.”
Next up, Millar.
Three Days of De Panne 2010, stage 3a: De Panne, 112km
1. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Transitions 112km in 2-31-30
2. Robert Wagner (Ger) Skil-Shimano
3. Kenny van Hummel (Ned) Skil-Shimano
4. Robbie McEwen (Aus) Katusha
5. Sjef De Wilde (Bel) Verandas Willems
6. Luca Paolini (Ita) Acqua & Sapone
7. Wouter Weylandt (Bel) Quick Step
8. Stefan van Dijck (Ned) Verandas Willems
9. Borut Bozic (Slo) Vacansoleil
10. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Colnago-CSF Inox all same time.
Overall classification after stage 3a
1. Luca Paolini (Ita) Acqua & Sapone
2. Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana at same time
3. Frederic Amorison (Bel) Landbouwkrediet at 9secs
4. David Millar (GB) Garmin-Transitions at 12secs
5. Sebastien Turgot (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom at 1-30
6. Jens Mouris (Ned) Vacansoleil at 1-37
7. Mirco Lorenzetto (Ita) Lampre – Farnese Vini at 2-15
8. Nicolai Trusov (Rus) Katusha
9. Manuel Quinziato (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo at 2-18
10. Hayden Roulston (NZ) HTC-Columbia at 2-21
Cobbles king: Farrar takes his first win of 2010 at De Panne