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Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Transitions) capped a strong Vuelta a España on Sunday driving home his second sprint victory in the final stage on the streets of Madrid.
Farrar overcame a bad position in the final 180-degree corner with 1km to go to relegate Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) to second place and come out of the Vuelta with confidence going into his next major goal at the world championships in Australia in two weeks.
“With three U-turns on a lap, it’s very hard to hold position. It’s very easy for people to come on the inside. But it was an uphill drag all the way to the finish, and those usually suit me pretty good,” Farrar said. “It’s great to win. Every stage win in a grand tour is amazing. To win in two in one, two in the Giro and now two here at the Vuelta, it’s also good for the confidence.”
Cavendish said he broke a spoke in the final 5km and had difficulty staying in the sprint, yet still managed to finish second and secure his first points jersey victory of his career, with 156 points to Farrar’s 149. Farrar could have won the jersey if he won and Cavendish finished worse than fifth.
Farrar was especially pleased with the win because it confirms his status as one of the top sprinters in the bunch. Losing lead-out man Julian Dean to a crash in a warm up for the team time trial back in Sevilla made it even tougher for Farrar against Cavendish’s lead-out train.
“That’s part of cycling, is always believing that it’s possible to win. With the condition I had, I knew I had the legs to win another stage,” Farrar continued. “Dean was injured straight from the start from his crash in Sevilla, so I have been riding the sprints in the final kilometer or two alone, so that’s made it more difficult. Today I had a clean run and I knew I had the legs to win today.”
The 65th Vuelta also proved an ideal training camp for the upcoming world championships. In addition to winning two stages, Farrar comes out of the Vuelta strong and confident as he looks ahead to his next major goal at the world championships.
Farrar said he will return to his European base in Belgium for a few days to recover from the Vuelta before flying down to Australia with plenty of time to prepare for the worlds.
“I feel good. Winning the last stage here shows that my condition is good. I stayed healthy and strong throughout the Vuelta. A one-day race is always a bit of a lottery. We’ll see how it goes it Melbourne. We’ll see how the course is once I get down to actually ride it,” Farrar said. “I have extra confidence knowing that I came through this Vuelta strong and that I still have good form.”
The U.S. team still has not been announced, so Farrar doesn’t know who he will have to help support him in Melbourne.