LES HERBIERS, France (VN) — Two sprinters in one team might mean trouble, but Garmin-Cervélo promises that there will be no discord between world champion Thor Hushovd and Tyler Farrar when it comes to mass gallops over the next three weeks.
This year’s Tour course, with an interesting mix of traditional straight-on sprint finales and more technical, uphill finishes, will make that push toward harmony even easier. Hushovd and Farrar promise to share the load between them.
“The goal is to win a stage and I believe there are a few chances for me. I will take my chances in the harder finales. That’s when I will have to play my chances,” Hushovd said. “Tyler is there for the bunch sprints. I will do my best to help the team when I can.”
Hushovd says starting the Tour wearing the rainbow jersey is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but insisted that he will not put his personal ambitions ahead of the team. He also admitted that he needs to be realistic and wisely pick the stages that are better suited for his qualities. That means that Farrar will get his shot in the bunch sprints against arch-rival Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad), while Hushovd will search for opportunities in the uphill finishes, with Saturday’s first stage presenting the ideal opportunity.
“It’s a hard climb. It’s a nice finish for sprinters who can climb. I’ll do my best to follow and give myself a shot for the win,” Hushovd said of Saturday’s first stage. “I am happy to be here in the rainbow jersey and I will do my best to honor this jersey.”
Garmin-Cervélo is still looking for its first ever Tour de France stage victory as a team. Jonathan Vaughters believes the squad will have its best chance in this year’s Tour, bringing what he described as Garmin’s “best Tour team ever” since its Tour debut in 2008.
Vaughters says the team will work for whichever rider is best positioned to win on any certain day, be it in the mountains, in breakaways or sprints.
“We’ll do everything we can for the rider who has the best chance to win on any given day. We’ll have a lot of different strategies,” Vaughters said. “We have a rough idea of how we will split the stages up between Thor and Tyler. Maybe we’ll make up a list and pass it along to Cavendish.”
Farrar says he has no problem sharing the wealth with Hushovd, especially when it makes sense that the Norwegian will aim for the uphill finales and he can take his shots against Cavendish in the flats.
“We have to be realistic about what I can do and cannot do,” Farrar said. “That’s one of the good things about having two sprinters. We have one of the best uphill sprinters in the world, so our bases are covered. The first goal is to try to win a stage. We’re both focusing on certain stages, then we’ll see how the race progresses.”
Dividing the wealth all but assures that neither rider will be contending for the green jersey. Hushovd has already said he will not be fighting for the points jersey, while Farrar says his first priority will be on trying to win his first-ever Tour stage.
“The green jersey is not a goal for me,” Hushovd said. “When you have a rider like Tyler Farrar on the team, you cannot focus on everything. I will be helping him in the sprints. I don’t think it’s worth it to try to sprint for a placing for the green jersey.”