SANTA ROSA, Calif. — If Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) is fitted for a stars-and-stripes jersey after the USA Cycling professional road championship in Tennessee, he may have California to thank for it.
The course for the May 27 championship in Chattanooga has three sharp passes up Lookout Mountain before tackling multiple circuits downtown. Farrar wants to be around for a sprint finish, as he was at the Amgen Tour of California — with one win, a second place and two thirds, one of them behind green jersey winner Peter Sagan (Cannondale) on Sunday.
“I’ve looked at the course on paper, but until I get there and actually ride it it’s hard to really know if it’s a course I can survive on,” he said after Sunday’s stage.
It shouldn’t take too much scouting, though, owing to the familiarity of the nationals profile.
“We have a tendency in the States to basically just make the nationals the same,” Farrar said. “They moved it from Greenville to Chattanooga but it’s almost the same course, with a 3K climb, so we’ll see. If I have really good legs, I hope I can survive it.”
Last year in South Carolina, he did, barely, finishing in the grupetto nearly 11 minutes behind winner Timmy Duggan. If things turn out differently this year, he might credit the run-up he’s had in California’s tour.
“It’s quite hard this year. I haven’t done California in a while so maybe that’s just normal for the Tour of California,” he said. “I think I’m going uphill okay. I’m not a mountain climber, obviously, but I’m pleased. So if I can recover well from this week, I hope for the best.”
What lies beyond? The Tour de France, obviously, with a warm-up first.
“After the nationals I have the Tour de Suisse, and it looks like there’s a couple of sprint opportunities there, and then also just some good training leading into July,” he said. Only afterward will he know if his legs are sound enough to be in the serious Tour sprint discussion.
“We’ll take it one step at a time,” he said. “We’ll see now the nationals and Suisse go, and how I’m riding, and then we’ll make some more plans.
“I think we’re going to have a really big GC push this year, just the way our team has been riding, with Dan Martin and Andrew Talansky and [Ryder] Hesjedal. We have so many good GC riders, we’ll see what I’m riding like when we get a little closer to the start.”