LIÈGE, Belgium (VN) – Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) is hoping to break into the winner’s column during the Tour de France after a season marked by near-misses for the American sprinter.
Farrar has a half-dozen top-three placings, including a photo-finish loss to Marcel Kittel at the GP Scheldeprijs in the rain in April, but has yet to win a race so far this season.
The 27-year-old admits he’s frustrated but vows to keep fighting in the bunch sprints.
“I am definitely frustrated,” Farrar told VeloNews. “I hope I am good. I trained hard coming here. I got through the Tour de Suisse pretty healthy. I think I am ready.”
Farrar said he simply hasn’t been quite able to find his rhythm in the first half of the 2012 season, coming close to wins before crashing out of the Giro d’Italia with a heavy fall in stage 6 that left him with a deep cut to his hand.
“The spring didn’t go quite go as I had hoped and then I felt like I was getting things back on track at the Giro, but then I crashed out so early,” he said. “I didn’t even really have had a chance to figure out where I was. It would have been nice to have had all those opportunities in the Giro to chase stages. It is what it is. I am going to try to break the dry spell.”
Last year, Farrar broke through to win his first Tour stage, adding to a grand-tour haul that already included two stages at both the Giro and Vuelta. He won on the Fourth of July and dedicated the victory to his friend Wouter Weylandt, who died tragically in a crash in the 2011 Giro.
For this year’s Tour, following Ryder Hesjedal’s breakthrough victory at the Giro, Garmin-Sharp is bringing a Tour squad more dedicated to the GC, meaning that Farrar will see less help in the bunch sprints.
South African Robbie Hunter and David Millar will help pilot him in during the closing kilometers, but he certainly will not have anything resembling a set-up train.
“I will see what I can do here in the sprints. I would love to win another stage here,” Farrar said.
But he added: “The priority is Ryder. Robbie Hunter and Dave Miller will be helping out there, too. Our focus is more on GC this year than it is on sprinting. It’s no surprise, having Hejsedal here after what he did in the Giro. I think it makes sense.”
With Hesjedal and Christian Vande Velde both giving Garmin a strong GC presence, Farrar says he’s aiming to finish the Tour, in part to prepare for the Olympic Games. But the green jersey is not in his immediate forecast.
“My plan is to finish the Tour. We’ll see how it’s going in the third week. The Olympics are very important, but the Tour is also very important. I would like to finish,” he said.
“Our focus is the GC, the podium or maybe the yellow jersey, so we are not going to be wasting energy chasing the intermediate sprints.”
But for Farrar, taking a win at the Tour would help erase a lot of frustration that’s marked his 2012 season so far.