Just three days ago, Tyler Farrar thought his Tour de France was over. The American sprinter crashed hard in Monday’s stage, injuring his wrist and elbow. His medical status was “day to day.”
Just 24 hours after Garmin-Slipstream sprinted to second with Julian Dean, Farrar was back in the driver’s seat in Thursday’s fifth stage to Montargis.
Garmin-Slipstream led out the sprint, with its full train in view for the first time in this Tour. Farrar came off Dean’s wheel, but Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) kicked to his first victory of 2010. Farrar crossed the line 10th, which was a small victory in itself.
“I was trying. I made a mistake and I came on the wrong side of Julian,” Farrar said at the line. “I didn’t have enough speed at the end. At least I tried. I have to take it day by day.”
Farrar survived the cobblestones on Tuesday and rode through Wednesday’s broiler of a stage to feel good enough to take a stab in Thursday’s sprint.
The American, with stage victories in the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España, didn’t want to leave the Tour without trying. His first sprint in stage 1 was derailed when another rider got his bike stuck in Farrar’s rear wheel. Two crashes in stage 2 almost knocked him out of the race and he gutted it out through Tuesday’s cobblestone stage, a day where he wanted to win.
Farrar says he’s not yet back at top condition, but just being in the sprint is a good step forward.
“I am still not 100 percent. I am still taking it day by day. The team rode great today, the team set me up perfect today,” he said. “I still hurt, but when the adrenaline of the sprint kicks in, I feel the pain less.”
Garmin-Transitions will be looking for another shot at an elusive Tour stage victory. Dean’s second place on Wednesday was the team’s sixth runner-up result since its debut in 2008. The team has also claimed six third places in that same period.