Mark Cavendish will have a on his hands in the upcoming Tour de France stages. American Tyler Farrar ran Cavendish all the way to the line and nearly got the best of him yesterday in Gueugnon.
The result is impressive, considering that five days ago team Garmin-Transitions’ Farrar was ready to quit the Tour de France due to a crash and a micro-fracture near his left wrist.
“I am just happy he is still in the race because he really thought he was going to home after that crash in Spa.” said sports director, Matt White. “I was having nightmares, thinking we were going to lose two leaders in the same day.”
Farrar came down in a crash with team-mate Christian Vande Velde and many other race favourites Monday on the way to the stage finish in Spa. They both limped home and went directly to the hospital, where doctors put five stitches above Vande Velde’s eye and X-rays reavealed two fractured ribs.
Despite the pain, Farrar continued to race and showed progression. Yesterday, Garmin led the sprint out of the last bend with Robert Hunter and Julian Dean, and nearly setup the win for Farrar.
“He has improved a lot in the last three days. The only time it really bothers him is that moment when he really has to pull on the handlebars,” continued White.
“He won’t have a problem at all getting over the mountains, his condition is as good as any of the others sprinters here.”
Farrar has three more chances to get one over on Cavendish and win his first Tour de France sprint stage. The next likely sprint stage is Thursday, stage 11 to Bourg-lès-Valence.
“It’s survival now, but he will have his chance before the race is over, even if it is the Champs-Élysées,” explained team manager, Jonathan Vaughters. “If you can get over the cobbles the day after you break your wrist then you are pretty damn tough.”
If Farrar manages to get a win then certainly Vande Velde will be cheering, with his ribs still in pain, from home.
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