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.
Tour de France 2010: Latest news
Cavendish strikes back in Tour de France
Thomas happy with Tour's white jersey; but says 'All for Brad'
Wiggins crashes on Tour stage start
Cavendish and Farrar return to top
Cavendish keeps up fight for first Tour win
Sky delivers Boasson Hagen to third without pressure
Thomas in tour's white jersey; Wiggins gains time
Evans and Schleck gain in Tour's hell of the north
The Feed Zone: Tour news and views (July 6)
Vande Velde abandons Tour following crash
Andy Schleck has a laugh after stage two crash
The Feed Zone: News and views (July 5)
Sky banks on Thomas ahead of cobbled stage
Cavendish's sprint train weakened with Hansen out
Armstrong under fire as Landis allegations reach mainstream
Team Sky's decision to put Wiggins off early back fires
Tour de France 2010: Stage reports
Stage six: Cavendish makes it two as Tour hots up
Stage five: Cavendish wins his first stage of Tour
Stage four: Petacchi wins into Reims
Stage three: Hushovd takes dramatic win; Thomas second on stage and GC
Stage three live coverage: As it happened
Stage two: Comeback man Chavanel takes victory in Spa
Stage one: Petacchi wins in Brussels as bunch left in tatters
Prologue: Cancellara pips Martin to win
Tour de France 2010: Photos
Stage six photo gallery
Stage five photo gallery
Stage four photo gallery
Stage three photo gallery
Stage two photo gallery
Stage one gallery
Prologue photo gallery
Tour de France 2010: Videos
Stage five video highlights
Stage four video highlights
Stage three video highlights
Stage two video highlights
Stage one video highlights
Prologue video highlights
Tour de France 2010: Race guide
Tour de France 2010: Cycling Weekly's coverage index
Official start list, with race numbers
Brits at the Tour 2010
Tout team guide
Tour jerseys: What they are and what they mean
Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Wiggins
Tour de France 2010: Pictures
Tour team presentation, Rotterdam
Tour teams take to the cobbles: Photo special
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