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Tyler Farrar heartbroken at inability to defend Vattenfall Cyclassics title

PLAYAS DEL ORIHUELA, Spain (VN) — Tyler Farrar won the past two editions of the Vattenfall Cyclassics, but a scheduling conflict with the German classic and the Vuelta a España meant the Garmin-Cervélo sprinter faced a tough choice.

Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky), second last year to Farrar, won this year’s edition on the same day that Farrar, racing in the Vuelta to hunt stages and prepare for the world championships, sprinted to fourth on stage 2.

“It breaks my heart not being there,” Farrar told VeloNews on Sunday after the stage. “That’s one of my favorite races on the calendar. I really love Hamburg. It was a hard decision because I love Hamburg a lot. I also like the Vuelta, it’s also important. Trading one day of racing for 21, it’s the choice.”

Farrar’s first victory at the Vattenfall race helped establish him as one of the world’s top sprinters in his breakout 2009 season. His repeat victory last year confirmed that Farrar could also be a factor in longer, classics-style courses.

Vuelta officials, however, pressed the UCI to move the Spanish tour a week earlier on the racing calendar, with the hopes of drawing in some of the vacation crowds still hanging on the beaches of Spain.

If the large, Tour de France-style crowds at the line Sunday were any indication, that earlier start for the Vuelta could pay dividends.

But it also meant that the Vuelta bumped up against the one-day German classic.

Farrar expressed his frustration that both events overlapped.

“It’s really a pity that they made the race schedule the way they did. I kind thought of the ProTour, WorldTour, whatever you want to call it, was the best riders in the best racers, and they’ve created a situation where it’s one or the other,” Farrar said. “Every other year I’ve done Hamburg and then the Vuelta. This year it wasn’t possible.”

For the Vuelta, Farrar says he’s feeling strong after some recovery time from the Tour, where he won his first career stage in July.

His goal during this Vuelta is to try to win a stage and prepare for the world’s, held two weeks after the Vuelta concludes in Madrid on September 11.