American sprinter Tyler Farrar is hoping to help Garmin-Sharp rebound from its disastrous start to the Giro d’Italia with a win at the end of today’s flat stage in and around Belfast.
The outfit suffered a horrific hit yesterday with Irish co-leader Dan Martin one of four that crashed at high-speed and heavily in the opening team time trial.
Martin had been billed for the first Grand Tour of the season that began on his home soil but along with teammate Koldo Fernandez is now out with a broken collarbone.
Australian Nathan Haas as well as Andre Cardoso sustained contusions in the spill though started this morning in overcast and wet weather conditions.
“Obviously it was a bit of a disaster for our team yesterday,” Farrar said at sign-on. “It was the worse way to start a Grand Tour you can pretty much think of but personally we’ll see what I can do in the sprint today. Hopefully I can turn the page a little bit.”
Garmin entered the 97th edition of the Giro with two underestimated maglia rosa hopefuls in Martin and former champion Ryder Hesjedal citing a plan to determine leadership on the road. It will now reassess options with the latter more than three minutes down.
Farrar is hopeful to capitalise in one of the eight flat stages that feature in the race having shown indications of form earlier this season and most recently with a second place to Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) at Scheldeprijs. The loss of two teammates on day one won’t affect his chances much.
“We didn’t send a lead-out team to this race anyway. The goal was GC. Unfortunately that’s a little bit out the window at this point but I’ll see what I can do,” he said.
“The form is good so I’ll just try and play off the other teams and hope for a bit of luck.”
The Grande Partenza was doubly emotional for the 29-year-old, along with other members of the professional cycling fraternity, that acknowledged the anniversary of friend Wouter Weylandt, who tragically passed away at the Giro three years ago yesterday.
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Sophie Smith is an Australian journalist, television reporter and presenter, who has provided coverage for Cycling Weekly from races across the world. She has covered eight Tours de France, as well as reporting for national and international newspapers as well as other magazines.
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