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PONFERRADA, Spain (VN) — Tyler Farrar is “disappointed” he won’t be racing next weekend in northern Spain for the elite men’s road cycling world championships.
With the U.S. men’s team down to six riders for the road race, instead of the nine maximum for top-ranked nations, Farrar was squeezed out for selection.
“I was pretty disappointed not to get selected, but there are only six spots, instead of nine,” Farrar told VeloNews. “It’s a super hard course, with more than 4,000 meters [13,123 feet] of climbing, so they’re sending a climbing-focused U.S. team.”
The Garmin-Sharp rider has competed in several worlds in the U23 and elite men’s ranks, with a career-best 10th in the so-called sprinter’s worlds in Copenhagen in 2011.
He hasn’t returned to worlds competition since then, but said he would have liked to have been selected for the Ponferrada course that he admitted didn’t favor his sprinter’s style.
“I’m a little disappointed I couldn’t be a part of it,” Farrar continued. “A guy like [Garmin-Sharp teammate] Alex Howes has a big chance, and I would have loved to have been there to help him make it happen. There are a lot of good American guys this year.”
One reason why experienced riders such as Farrar were squeezed out was that the U.S. elite men’s team earned only six out of nine possible start spots, based on the nation’s ranking.
Three were automatic bids, with those going to Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing), Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp), and reigning national champion Eric Marcotte (Team SmartStop). Talansky and van Garderen will both race the time trial Wednesday as well.
The three remaining spots went to Kiel Reijnen (UnitedHealthcare) and Howes, who both won stages at the USA Pro Challenge, and BMC workhorse Brent Bookwalter.
Howes, who, with Peter Stetina, was among the two U.S. finishers in last year’s demanding course in Florence, will be one of the U.S. team’s best cards to play.
Van Garderen, hot off winning the trade team time trial world title Sunday, admitted the U.S. team will not line up as one of the five-star favorites to win.
“We have a few different plans. We obviously don’t have a big favorite,” Van Garderen said. “We have a few guys who are ready to work, and we have guys like Alex [Howes] who can be fast in a select group in the end, and guys like me and [Andrew] Talansky, if there is a move going away on the last few laps. We want to spread around our chances to win. I think we’ll work well together. We want to at least animate the race.”
That means Farrar, who raced to 10th in the trade team time trial Sunday with Garmin-Sharp, will be setting his sights on different targets as he winds down his 2014 season.
Up next, he’ll race in the Tour Eurometropole (formerly Franco-Belge), where he won a stage last year, and then the Tour of Beijing for his first time.
“I still have a few weeks of racing ahead of me,” Farrar said. “The legs are good. I like racing in the fall, and I am looking forward going to China.”
The Beijing tour will also put an end to his seven-year run at Garmin-Sharp. He’s set to join MTN-Qhubeka in a two-year deal next season.