Tyler Farrar (Wentachee, Washington)
Men’s Road Race
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Tyler Farrar, who lives in the Flemish city of Ghent, is a fan favorite in Belgium. America’s top road sprinter, however, won his first Tour de France road stage last year on the Fourth of July.
Last year, he was hard-hit by the death of close friend and training partner, Wouter Weylandt, to a crash in the Giro d’Italia, and his father was paralyzed from the chest down after being hit by a car in 2009, so the 2005 national criterium champion is all too familiar with the risks inherent to his chosen sport.
Farrar is the designated sprinter and protected rider for the five-man U.S. Olympic road team on the classics-style course, and his previous classics and sprint success suggests that he could be a contender. Wins at Scheldeprijs (2010), Three Days of De Panne (stage 3a in 2010), and the Vattenfall Cyclassics (2009) have proven his mettle for tough one-day Northern European races, while consistent success in the sprints at the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España have left little question of his sprinting abilities.
The Washington native has struggled in 2011 and crashed heavily in the first week of the Tour de France. He will arrive to London motivated to reward USA Cycling for its faith in him, especially if the expected wet weather hits the Box Hill road race course in the opening weekend of the Games.
This year’s Olympics will be Farrar’s first, although with world championship experience and seven grand tour stage wins to his name, he is quite familiar with competing on the world stage.