It was a long time coming, but Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) kicked to victory Saturday in the third stage of the Eurometropool Tour in Belgium, scoring his first victory on European pavement since 2011.
Farrar, 29, hasn’t won in Europe since stage 3 at the 2011 Tour de France, though he’s had success in the United States. He ended his overseas drought in the race formerly called Circuit Franco-Belge, out-kicking Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (Argos-Shimano), with French ace Arnaud Démare (FDJ) crossing the line third.
“The guys were fantastic today,” Farrar said. “It was a super hectic finishing circuit, but the guys rode great and kept me out of trouble. It’s been a long wait for a European victory so it’s a big relief to finally get that monkey off my back this season.”
After missing both the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France, Farrar entered this year’s Vuelta a España keen to win a stage.
But the American sprinter was foiled by a mountainous course and challenging finales that often ended over tough finishing circuits. He posted four top-fives in the four sprints he contested, including second in the finale going into Madrid.
Farrar still had not signed a contract for 2014 at the conclusion of the Vuelta, so this victory could well put him over the top if he hasn’t already reached a deal. Farrar could not be reached for comment on Saturday.
Meanwhile, overnight leader Jens Debusschere (Lotto-Belisol), winner of the first stage Thursday, retained the leader’s jersey in the Eurometropool Tour. The race concludes Sunday with the fourth and final stage from Mons to Tournai, over 153.8km.