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Tyler Farrar is hoping to deliver big results this spring for his new employer, MTN-Qhubeka.
The veteran American has been knocking on the door the past few seasons, with second places last year at Dwars door Vlaanderen and GP Scheldeprijs, a race he won in 2010.
“The classics are the first big goal of the season,” Farrar told VeloNews. “I’ve always loved the classics, and I’ve been close to a big win, so I’d love for it to happen this season.”
Farrar, 30, is certainly no stranger to the roads that splay across the undulating landscape of northern Belgium. Since turning pro with Cofidis a decade ago, Farrar has been living and training in Gent, a bustling college town set near the roads featured in the Belgian classics.
Following eight seasons with the Garmin franchise, Farrar took the offer to switch to MTN for a two-year deal.
“It’s new motivation, and the team is great,” Farrar said. “Everyone is working well together, and we are very motivated to try to deliver some big results during the classics.”
Farrar’s had a decent start to the 2015 season, with a second place at the season opener at the Herald Sun Tour in Australia, and a top-5 finish at the Ruta del Sol, where he came down with in a minor cold.
Starting with this weekend’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Farrar will have a full classics schedule. Also this weekend will be Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, followed by Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen in early March. Then it’s straight into the full-on northern classics, with Dwars door Vlaanderen, Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders), GP Scheldeprijs, and, with the news of the invitation coming Wednesday, Paris-Roubaix.
MTN-Qhubeka lines up with a solid classics team. Along with Farrar, there are former Milano-San Remo winners Gerald Ciolek and Matt Goss, along with Theo Bos and Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg. And then there’s Edvald Boasson Hagen, who once seemed destined to dominate the classics, and who’s also hoping for a revival this spring.
“I am happy we are in the race, and the goal now is to do as well as possible, and hopefully better than I have before,” Boasson Hagen said in a team release Wednesday. “My general goal is to win Roubaix during my career, so hopefully it comes this year.”
Farrar said there’s no problem between the different riders about who will handle leadership during the upcoming races.
“We have a lot of different cards to play, and that’s our strength,” Farrar said. “If it’s not me, then it’s Edvald, or Matt, or Gerald. We want to win a big one this year, and it doesn’t matter who it is, just so long as one of us wins.”
Farrar is hoping MTN’s strength in numbers comes up aces.