Tyler Farrar called accusations by Mark Cavendish that he’s receiving help in the sprints afrom Belgian rider Wouter Weylandt “ridiculous.”
Cavendish filed a protest following Friday’s stage, charging that Farrar and Quick Step’s Weylandt boxed him in during the intermediate points sprint and suggested the pair is working together against him. Race judges didn’t rule on the protest because they couldn’t review it on TV, but Cavendish stirred the pot with post-race comments.
“That’s ridiculous. That makes me angry to hear that. There’s nothing like that going on. Sure, I’ve been going for all the sprints to try to win the points jersey, from the help of my team and my team only,” Farrar told VeloNews. “That’s not cool for him to say that. I don’t appreciate him to make it like I am doing something inappropriate in the sprints. I pride myself in doing clean sprints. If someone beats me straight up in a sprint, I am the first to congratulate them.”
Farrar defended his comportment during the first intermediate sprint, when he won ahead of Wouter and with Cavendish crossing the line third.
“Wouylandt went hard and I came off him. We were racing in a straight line and Mark tried to split the middle when there was no room. He almost crashed,” Farrar explained. “We were riding in a straight line. He tried to go through a gap that wasn’t there.”
Farrar and Cavendish have developed into one of the top sprint rivalry of today’s generation. They’ve always seemed to have gotten along on and off the bike, but Farrar said Cavendish went too far with comments Friday.
“I’ve always gotten along with (Cavendish). We chat during the race, but this isn’t the first time that he’s been friendly to my face and then say some negative things about me in the press,” Farrar said. “It’s too bad for him that I’ve beaten him a in a couple sprints at this Vuelta. Maybe it’s hard for his ego, but that doesn’t give him the right to slander my reputation.”
Farrar is enjoying a fine Vuelta, winning a stage and promising to ride all the way to Madrid to battle for the points jersey before reloading for the world championships. He lamented the finale of Friday’s sprint into Burgos, when he over-cooked the final corner with 550m to go and lost out on points that might cost him a shot at the jersey.
“I kind of botched the last turn. It will be difficult to get the points back now. We’ll keep fighting,” Farrar explained. “I’ll stay in the Vuelta until Madrid. There are two from the end to the worlds, that’s enough time to recover. Up to this point I am feeling good. There are a lot of sprints in the final week, so it makes sense to stick around.”