On the first rest day of the Tour de France, American Tyler Farrar was upbeat as he lounged with his Garmin-Transitions team at Club Med Avoriaz, a ski resort hotel high in the Alps. After a few near-misses at a stage win and a crash that broke his wrist, Farrar said he was still eager to complete the full race and try to snag that elusive victory.
“It’s not like I’m riding with a shattered bone in my wrist,” Farrar said of the micro-fractures in his left wrist. “I just have a few tiny cracks that make life a little uncomfortable when I’m riding. I tore some ligaments off the bone, too.”
Farrar crashed on stage 2, about 30km from the finish in Spa. It was the same day his teammate Christian Vande Velde crashed out of the Tour with two broken ribs.
“I rode one-handed the last 30K, bleeding all over the place,” Farrar said. “We went straight to the emergency room. I was pretty sure I was done.”
But X-rays revealed micro-fractures, not a clean break. So Farrar had his mechanics add padding to his handlebars underneath the tape and he soldiered on, with his lead-out man Julian Dean doing just fine sprinting for himself on stage 4. Farrar said he was glad to see Dean and Robbie Hunter get in the mix for themselves after he was temporarily sidelined.
“It’s always frustrating when things don’t go according to plan,” he said. “But the Tour is the most important race of the year, and you don’t want to say, ‘I’m hurt; we can’t try until I feel better.’ They did pretty good.”
Farrar said the team had performed well throughout the first week, but “we’ve just had some bad luck.”
“In the Giro, we nailed it every time,” he said of his sprint wins there this year. “But here, I managed to steal somebody’s bike and drag it down the road with 200 meters to go ). I crashed … But our team is really strong for the sprint.”
On stage 6 Garmin had a good train going, taking control of the front of the peloton as it dove through the final few corners. But HTC-Columbia’s Mark Cavendish got the win that day, with Farrar finishing on his wheel for second.
“I’m taking it one day at a time. It depends on how the pain goes, how I can manage it,” he said. “The Tour is the hardest race in the world. If I make it to Paris that will be 19 days with a broken wrist. It’s just one more thing to make it harder. But I’m still here.”