American Tyler Farrar finally gave up his stricken Tour de France campaign Friday as the pain from a fractured wrist began to take its toll.
The Garmin-Transitions sprinter was one of several riders to crash on the rain-splashed second stage from Brussels to Spa, but had decided to carry on in spite of his injuries.
After a tough day of racing on the 12th stage Friday, Farrar pulled over with 50km remaining and called it a day.
His sports director, Australian Matt White, said Farrar’s injury simply was not healing and the pain had become too much.
“Every day after Tyler sprints he’s in a world of pain. He was in a lot of pain today and got dropped on the first climb,” said White.
Farrar was deprived of a fair chance to battle for the stage win on Thursday when HTC-Columbia sprinter Mark Cavendish’s lead-out man, Mark Renshaw, head-butted his key support rider Julian Dean on the home straight.
As Cavendish broke free to go on and score his third stage success, Renshaw then blocked Farrar as the American tried to come up the inside of the barriers. Renshaw’s tactics got him thrown off the race.
Asked if Farrar’s morale had dropped after the incident, White added: “No, not at all. What happened yesterday is the least of his worries.
“In the heat of the moment you don’t feel the pain you’re doing to the wrist. But the next day you pay for it. Eventually he just couldn’t hang on. It wasn’t getting worse. It’s just not healing, and it won’t heal until he has time off the bike, unfortunately.”
White said the only good news to come out of Farrar’s retirement is that it will give him more time to recover before preparing for the Vuelta a España, a major stepping stone to the world championships in October.
“You’ve got to look at it positively,” said White. “He wants a big shot at the world championships in Australia. The course suits him and now he’s got to recover from it, and prepare for the Vuelta a España, for sure.”
He added: “He’s a hard nut. We sat down last night and analyzed his sprint, and we were looking forward to the next one. But unfortunately it’s not going to be.”
Farrar’s absence may now leave Julian Dean to battle for the few remaining sprint stages, although the Kiwi rider is missing the kind of support being enjoyed by his rivals.
South African Robbie Hunter pulled out of the Tour prior to Thursday’s 11th stage, adding to the team’s woes after top-five hopeful Christian Vande Velde crashed out through injury in the first week.