Mark Cavendish got the better of Tyler Farrar last year at the Giro d'Italia, but this year will be different. The American sprinter will be without his British rival, who is racing the Tour of California.
"It will be different not having him around after racing against him last year," team Garmin-Transitions' Farrar told Cycling Weekly. "I still think there are a lot of really fast guys with André Greipel, Alessandro Petacchi... There are always quick guys and, for sure, it is not going to be easy."
Farrar made his debut in Grand Tours last year at the Giro d'Italia. He went on to race the Tour de France, where Cavendish also blocked him from winning, and the Vuelta a España. Without Cavendish racing at the Vuelta, he finally secured his first Grand Tour with stage 11 to Caravaca de la Cruz.
Cavendish won his first Grand Tour stage at the Giro d'Italia in 2008 and then went on to win four stages at that year's Tour de France. Last year, he won three stages at the Giro d'Italia.
With the Tour of California and Giro d'Italia now clashing on the calendar, USA-based team HTC-Columbia asked its rider to race near its headquarters.
Farrar, who finished second, third and fifth in stages won by Cavendish last year, will logically have a better chance to win a stage this year.
"I hope so. The Giro was my first Grand Tour ever last year. There were certainly some stages where I made some tactical mistakes. Hopefully, now that I have a few 'Grands' in my legs and more experience with in the sprints it will go better."
Also working in Farrar's favour, is that the Giro d'Italia starts with three stages in The Netherlands. Farrar got his start in Northern Europe and lives in Ghent, Belgium, which gives him a tactical advantage.
"I know the Northern European races pretty well. The second road stage [stage three] heads down the coast all day and will get pretty interesting if it is windy. It will add a bit of different dynamic to the first few days."
Giro d'Italia 2010: Cycling Weekly's coverage index
2010 Giro d'Italia coverage in association with Zipvit
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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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