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Giro d'Italia

Farrar happy with Giro

Sometimes you don’t have to win to make a strong impression. That’s certainly the case for Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream), who proved that he’s reached a new level in the rough-and-tumble world of field sprints. With two seconds and one third, Farrar came close to the elusive breakthrough victory. The team was more than satisfied with Farrar’s performances and he all but assured himself a ticket to the Tour de France in July as the team’s top sprinter.

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By Andrew Hood

Farrar when he wore the best young rider's white jersey.

Farrar when he wore the best young rider’s white jersey.

Photo: Andrew Hood

Sometimes you don’t have to win to make a strong impression.

That’s certainly the case for Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream), who proved that he’s reached a new level in the rough-and-tumble world of field sprints. With two seconds and one third, Farrar came close to the elusive breakthrough victory.

The team was more than satisfied with Farrar’s performances and he all but assured himself a ticket to the Tour de France in July as the team’s top sprinter.

VeloNews caught up with Farrar before the start of Saturday’s stage to discuss his Giro and his running spat with Italian sprinter Alessandro Petacchi. Here are excerpts:

VeloNews: A lot of sprinters are pulling out, how much longer for you?

Tyler Farrar: I think this will be it for me today. It makes it an even two weeks. There’s not going to be any more sprints. It’s all mountains from here to Roma, so it’s better to go home and recover.

VN: It’s been a very successful grand tour debut, how do you rate your performance?

TF: It’s been good. Of course, I would have liked to have won a stage, but I’ve shown that I was right there, day in and day out. I cannot ask for too much more. It’s hard to say, with four or five top 5s, that it’s been a disappointment.

VN: What was your best day in the sprints for you?

TF: The two days that I felt the closest was the day that I was second to Petacchi and the day I actually got third in Milan, I felt like I was coming pretty quick. Those were the best sprints I did while I was here.

VN: In Friday’s stage, it looked Petacchi closed down your sprint?

TF: I had to hit the brakes with 200 meters to go. When that happens, it’s all over. That’s bike racing, that’s how it goes sometimes.

VN: What did you learn during this Giro that will help you later?

TF: This is one of the first times that we’ve had the whole team together to do lead-outs for me, so it was kind of a work in progress. We’ve played with a few different things. You could see that we’re getting better and better as the race went on. Hopefully, that will continue in the Tour.

VN: How important is it to have a rider like Julian Dean lead you out?

TF: I tend to be a little nervous, so it’s good to have someone like him who’s done this for so long to calm me down a bit and keep me where I need to be.

VN: Petacchi criticized you in the Italian media, what’s going on with that?

TF: I don’t know what that was about. I never even saw him in the sprint (stage 11). I watched the video and I never touched him, I don’t what he was angry about that day.

VN: Has Petacchi spoken to you or have you approached him about his comments?

TF: Not really. I spoke to him yesterday after the sprint, and just said, ‘What’s going on? First, you say I am dangerous, and then I am the one who almost ends up on the ground today.’ That’s bike racing, it happens sometimes. Guys speak in the heat of the moment, there’s nothing you can do about it.

VN: Maybe Petacchi doesn’t like to have to be fighting to be on Cav’s wheel …

TF: Exactly, tempers flare from time to time, when you’re boxing for a wheel.

VN: Petacchi used to being the king of the sprints, now he’s got to fight for Cav’s wheel, perhaps he’s not used to that?

TF: Yeah, it’s possible. It’s a different race for him now. He’s used to having the big train and everyone’s trying to be behind him. It’s changed the way he’s had to ride the sprints, for sure.

VN: What’s next?

TF: We’re working on that now, either Tour de Suisse or some race up in Holland. It’s looking good for the Tour.