By Andrew Hood
Tyler Farrar (Cofidis) won’t need surgery on his broken left collarbone and hopes to be back racing as early as May.
Farrar, 21, crashed hard in a finish-line spill in Tuesday’s first stage at the Circuit de la Sarthe in France, suffering a broken collarbone and other cuts and abrasions. X-rays showed the break won’t require anything more than some quiet recuperation.
“It’s not a displaced fracture, so it wasn’t that bad. At first they were thinking I needed surgery,” Farrar told VeloNews on Thursday. “Other than that, I have some scrapes and bruises, but considering how it could have been, I was pretty lucky.”
Farrar was scheduled to fly back to the United States on Friday. He said he’ll return to his home in Bellingham, Washington, and recuperate before returning to training within the next 10 to 14 days. He hopes to return to racing as soon as May.
“Whatever race there is in mid-May, I’ll be there,” Farrar said.
Farrar was also shaken up about the news coming out of France about his roommate Saul Raisin, who slipped into a coma on Thursday morning. Farrar is renting a room in Raisin’s apartment along France’s Cote d’Azur.
Shoot-out expected in País Vasco finale
Barring a major shakeup in the overall standings, the Vuelta al País Vasco will be decided in Saturday’s 24km time trial in the steep hills around Zalla.
Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) retained the overall lead following Thursday’s field sprint won by Oscar Freire (Rabobank). Sanchez, a winner of two straight stages Tuesday and Wednesday, said confident he could hold off the time trial specialists despite a very tight GC.
“I can ride a good time trial and my fitness is very good right now,” Sanchez said. “I know the roads in the area and it’s a hilly course, so it’s not only for the time trial specialists. I will give it all, that’s for sure.”
Second-place Alberto Contador (Liberty Seguros) actually has the same overall time as Sanchez and will line up Saturday as the favorite for the win. Last year, Contador won a shorter time trial at the Basque tour to finish third on the podium.
“It’s a course that’s longer than last year, but it favors me because it’s quite hilly. There are some sections that are very steep,” said Contador. “There are a lot of riders who can still do well for the final. It’s going to be very close.”
In all, there are 10 riders within 10 seconds of each other atop of the overall leader board.
Cadel Evans (Davitamon-Lotto) lurks in fourth place at just two seconds back and is certainly no slouch in the time trial. Evans told VeloNews earlier this week he’s not in top shape, but hopes to shine in the upcoming Ardennes classics before regrouping ahead of the Tour de France.
Discovery’s José Azevedo is still within striking distance of the podium at 25 seconds back while Patrik Sinkewitz (T-Mobile) is 14th at 38 seconds back.
1. Oscar Freire (Sp), Rabobank, 172km in 3:56:43
2. Samuel Sanchez (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, same time
3. Fabian Wegmann (G), Gerolsteiner, s.t.
4. Alejandro Valverde (Sp), Caisse d’Epargne-Illes Balears, s.t.
5. Stefano Garzelli (I), Liquigas, s.t.
1. Samuel Sanchez (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 15.37:41
2. Alberto Contador (Sp), Liberty Seguros, s.t.
3. Davide Rebellin (I), Gerolsteiner, at 0:02
4. Cadel Evans (Aus), Davitamon-Lotto, s.t.
5. Leonardo Bertagnolli (I), Cofidis, s.t
Second test positive for Urweider
A counter-analysis for Swiss rider Sascha Urweider confirmed the presence of testosterone, according to reports on the French wires. Traces of the banned performance-enhancing drug turned up in private controls conducted by the Swiss team.
The 25-year-old Urweider, who turned pro in 2003, was immediately sacked by the Phonak team when he failed the test in mid-March.
Schumacher takes over at Sarthe
Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner) took over the lead in the Circuit de la Sarthe after finishing second to Alberto Loddo (Selle Italia) on Thursday’s third stage.
Loddo outsprinted Schumacher and Anthony Ravard to win the 188.3km stage, while Schumacher displaced CSC’s Brian Vandborg as overall leader. —Agence France Presse
1. Alberto Loddo (I), Selle Italia, 188.3km in 4:37:37 (40.696 km/h)
2. Stefan Schumacher (G), Gerolsteiner, same time
3. Anthony Ravard (F), Bouygues Telecom, s.t.
4. Andrus Aug (Est), Acqua Sapone, s.t.
5. Andre Korff (G), T-Mobile, s.t.
1. Stefan Schumacher (G), Gerolsteiner), 12:09:00
2. Brian Vandborg (Den), CSC, at 0:03
3. Iva Basso (I), CSC, same time
4. Serguy Matveyev (Ukr), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, at 0:05
5. Benoit Vaugrenard (F), Française des Jeux, at 0:06
Neo-pro Langeveld claims first win
Netherlander Sebastiaan Langeveld (Skil-Shimano) soled to victory in the 41st edition of the GP Pino Cerami Thursday.
Belgians Johan Coenen and Bart Dockx finished second and third, respectively.
The 177km race between St-Ghislain and Hornu was marked by a succession of attacks that led to a group of 21 off the front with 17km remaining.
Two kilometers further down the road, Langeveld accelerated, pursued by Dockx, Coenen Geert Verheyen and Bert De Waele. The chase never got properly organized, however, and Langeveld stayed away to collect his first victory as a professional. —Agence France Presse
Petacchi skipping Paris-Roubaix
Sprint king Alessandro Petacchi will skip Paris-Roubaix on Sunday, leaving teammate Erik Zabel to lead the Milram team in the Hell of the North.
Zabel will be trying to improve on his previous best result at the race, a third place in 2000. Petacchi will race at the Tour of Cologne on April 17 and the Tour of Basse-Saxe April 19-23 before starting the Giro d’Italia on May 6. —Agence France Presse