American Tyler Farrar believes his Garmin-Cervélo team needs a top three finish in Paris-Roubaix on Sunday after suffering setbacks in the other classics.
"We need to put someone on the podium," he said, "to consider the classics season a success."
The American team was talked about being the new super team after Garmin-Transitions took on seven riders and the title sponsor of the Cervélo Test Team last autumn. To date, Garmin-Cervelo's best result has been a third place at Dwars door Vlaanderen and at Ghent-Wevelgem with Farrar.
Heinrich Haussler was with the leaders in Milan-San Remo and E3 Prijs, but lacked the strength to follow the winning attacks. World Champion Thor Hushovd was the team's leader at the Tour of Flanders on Sunday, but couldn't stay with the leaders over the race's crucial last climbs.
"Pressure? Everyone talks about this being the number one classics team, but that means a lot of expectations," added Farrar. "We've had a few close calls, we hoped to podium or win - we did podium - but it's been disappointing."
Redemption will come with an outstanding performance in Paris-Roubaix. However, Farrar will do what he can today and try to defend his Scheldeprijs win in Schoten, Belgium.
"A win would be good for the team morale since the classics have not gone how we wanted."
Mark Cavendish has won the race twice, including his 2007 breakthrough win, but Farrar considers team Rabobank the biggest threat with Theo Boss and Michael Matthews.
"Cav? Maybe, we will see. I'm not sure of his condition, I haven't sprinted against him all year. He did not contest the sprints in Tirreno-Adriatico."
"For Roubaix, I think Thor can win. I'll help him, do what I can. We have [Roger] Hammond to help. He was strong on Sunday and he's always strong in Roubaix.
Hammond and the team will do their best to save Garmin's classics campaign on Sunday.
The team will announce in the coming days its full eight-man roster, which may include Dan Lloyd. He will likely skip it, though, and continue his classic season with the Brabantse Pijl on April 13 and Amstel Gold on April 17. It will be his first appearance in Amstel Gold, where he will support last year's runner up Ryder Hesjedal.
Spring Classics 2011: Cycling Weekly's Coverage Index
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Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.
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