By Andrew Hood
Tyler Farrar broke his left kneecap Wednesday in a harrowing crash on the dangerous Kemmelberg cobblestone descent in Ghent-Wevelgem.
Farrar, 22, was transported to a hospital in Ieper, Belgium, where X-rays found a fracture to his patella. Cofidis officials said surgery isn’t required, but he’ll likely be sidelined for at least a month.
“He was behind [Jimmy] Casper when he crashed and everyone started to brake, but I don’t know precisely what caused him to fall,” said Cofidis sport director Alain Deloeuil. “There are no other broken bones.”
Deloeuil said Farrar should be able to return to his European home base in Ghent, Belgium, later tonight.
The second-year pro was among a dozen riders who went down in two passages down the decisive cobblestone descent late in the otherwise flat 220km Ghent-Wevelgem course.
Television cameras didn’t show Farrar falling, but he was later seen sitting on the side of the route grimacing in pain as he clutched his bloodied knee.
Farrar is no stranger to these roads and knows the Kemmelberg well. He raced with the U.S. development team, which is based in the region and has trained and raced on these roads for years.
This year, Farrar was making his classics debut with Cofidis. He started Sunday’s Tour of Flanders and was scheduled to be part of the Paris-Roubaix team this weekend. His role was to help keep team captain Nick Nuyens out of trouble in the treacherous cobblestone races. Just this morning, Deloeuil told VeloNews that Farrar was doing an impeccable job.
“For a young professional, he is mature and progressing very well,” Deloeuil said. “He always give 150 percent and we couldn’t be happier with his performance.”