The U.S. team’s best hope for Sunday’s elite road race, Tyler Farrar, is optimistic about his chances Sunday, buoyed by his final stage victory a fortnight ago at the Vuelta a España over arch-rival Mark Cavendish, who has recently ruled out his chances of procuring his first road world title. “Anytime you win a big race, it helps the confidence a lot — it helps you have a level of trust that your form’s where you want it to be,” Farrar said, “so winning in the Vuelta was definitely good coming into this weekend.”
Asked what he’s done between then and now, the 26-year-old replied: “Mostly rest. We’ve done a bit of training down here, but the first step is getting over what you’ve done to yourself, and having the worlds in Australia, getting over the jet lag (after) flying down here. Now that we’ve done that, (it is time to) open a bit, have a few hard days, and take a crack at Sunday.”
Besides Christian Vande Velde, Jason McCartney, David Zabriskie and Danny Pate, the U.S. team is fielding four relatively young riders to contest the 262.7 kilometer race: Tejay Van Garderen, Craig Lewis, Ted King and Tom Peterson. (Related: U.S. team roster) If Farrar had it his way, would he have wanted a little more experience on side?
“No — I think it’s a pretty strong team, really. It’s young and there are a few other riders from the States that have more experience, but I think it’s very strong — probably one of the strongest teams the U.S. has entered in a (road) world championships. I think we have a good set of guys for it.”
That Cavendish no longer considers himself a contender while Farrar continues to believe in himself is not completely contradictory, as the latter has shown greater versatility than the 15-time Tour de France stage winner. However, almost all pundits now agree that the rider best-suited to overcome some 200 others on the two climbs per lap, 15.9km circuit in Geelong is an Ardennes Classic specialist, and top of that list is Belgian Philippe Gilbert.
“It’s certainly a hard climb — they’re both hard climbs — and I think the course is a lot harder than people having been saying for the last year. I definitely wouldn’t look at it and say it’s a guaranteed sprinters’ course,” said Farrar.