SCHOTEN, Belgium (VN) — Three days after leading a 200km breakaway at the Tour of Flanders, Garmin-Barracuda’s Tyler Farrar arrived in Antwerp, Belgium, Wednesday with only one thing in mind: the Scheldeprijs podium. The mid-week Belgian semi-classic is known as a prize for sprinters, with Farrar himself taking top honors in 2010.
So even as his team set its sights on Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix, Farrar took the start ready to tangle.
“This is an important race for me, so I’m all-in today,” said Farrar before the start. “There are still a few days to recover before Roubaix and I think you can do both. You have to take a few risks in the sprint. Maybe someone like [Tom] Boonen won’t want to take those risks, but for me this is an important race. I’ll be fighting up there.”
And fight he did. In a dangerous, rain-soaked finale in Schoten, Farrar took second after being nipped by Argos-Shimano’s Marcel Kittel. Speaking with VeloNews at the finish, the 28-year-old Washington native pointed to a solid ride from top-to-bottom for his Garmin squad.
“I think our team rode really, really well today, with the great work Alex Howes did riding the front all day and super work from Robby [Hunter] and Koldo [Fernandez] and Jack [Bauer] in the last 30K or so, keeping me out of trouble with the rain,” said Farrar, who has fought through a tough spring campaign that has been short on results. “I was in perfect position for the sprint and, you know, I didn’t do a bad sprint either. It was just that Kittel was a little bit stronger than me today.”
Could Sunday’s Flanders heroics have zapped Farrar’s strength just enough to keep him from edging the rising German sprint star? Farrar didn’t rule it out, but also can’t afford to look back with teammate Johan Van Summeren’s Paris-Roubaix defense on the horizon.
“Well, I did have a couple days to recover from Flanders,” he said. “I don’t know if I’m completely recovered. Sunday was not the easiest day, riding the front like that, you know? For me personally, today was very important — but it’s also an important week, with Paris-Roubaix coming Sunday. This is what the spring is all about.”