Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Transitions) was hoping Paris-Roubaix would be the icing on the cake of a spectacular northern classics campaign that included fifth at Tour of Flanders and victory at GP Scheldeprjis.
Those hopes were dashed by an ill-timed crash on the cobblestones just ahead of the decisive Arenberg sector — he lost contact with the lead bunch before the race-winning moves went down.
“To do well in Roubaix, you need good legs and good luck. Today, I only had half of that equation,” Farrar told VeloNews. “It’s a pity. I really wanted to see what I was capable of in Roubaix and I didn’t get the chance. My race was over before the real racing even began.”
Farrar had nowhere to go when riders crashed in front of him on the Haveluy à Wallers cobblestones just as the pack was roaring toward the Arenberg. Garmin teammate Johan Van Summeren also went down, so one crash undercut two of the team’s chances for a podium.
“They fell right in front of me. I didn’t see the crash. I just piled into everybody. All of a sudden, everyone is on the ground,” he said “I wasn’t hurt, but my bike was kind of thrashed. We got it into a state where we could at least keep riding it.
“I took Julian’s (Dean) front wheel, but my handlebar was pointing one way and my saddle was pointing another. We had a bike waiting for me at the end of Arenberg. I made it to that, took the bike change. I could see (the group), I was trying to come back through the cars, but the officials were making the barrage for the dropped riders.”
Farrar was hitting the best form of his career, timing perfectly his peak for his first serious run at the northern classics.
He was especially keen to see how he could do at Roubaix, the race that triggered his hopes and imagination to become a professional cyclist.
“I was feeling good today. I was coming into each cobblestone section in the front 10-15 (riders). I felt as good as I did last weekend in Flanders. It doesn’t mean I would have done the same result, but I was here in the best form I’ve ever had for these kind of races. I was super-motivated to see what I could do,” he said. “Maybe next year I can see. Once the group’s gone, you just kind of cruise in. Paris-Roubaix is one of those races that is hard to quit.”
Farrar rolled in with a group in 84th at 22:57 back. Unfortunately, he won’t get to keep that on his palmares because he finished beyond the time limit, along with 34 other riders.
Still, the 25-year-old can take a lot of satisfaction out of the spring classics as he shifts gears for his next major goal at the Giro d’Italia.
“Overall, I am very happy with my spring campaign. I met all the goals I set for myself. It would have been nice to end a bit more positive note,” he said. “With the results I got with Scheldeprijs, with Flanders, with De Panne, with Omloop. I am psyched. I would say this spring has been a complete success for me.”
After a short break, he’ll begin preparing for the Giro. With Garmin taking a stacked team led by Dave Zabriskie to try to win the overall at the Amgen Tour of California, Farrar will lead a Giro squad with eyes on winning stages and honing their sprint order.
“The team wants to make a 100 percent effort for the GC in California, because that’s one of the real reasons I am not going there,” he said. “I am not real helpful in the overall, so we’re going to send all of our sprint guys to the Giro to try to get some stages.”