Farrar Sprints to Victory on Independence Day
American Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervelo) has won Stage 3 of the 2011 Tour de France on Independence Day.
American Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervelo) has won Stage 3 of the Tour de France on Independence Day. Farrar sped into the lead in the last 150 m of the flat, 198-km run from Olonne-sur-Mer to Redon and held off Roman Feillu (Vacansoleil) to win in 4:40:21. Feillu settled for second and Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar) took third. Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) remains the maillot jaune.
The hostilities began early. In the first km, Mickael Delage (Francaise des Jeux), Ivan Gutierrez (Movistar), Ruben Perez (Euskaltel), Maxime Bouet (Ag2r), and Niki Terpstra (Quick Step) sallied off of the front. The peloton did not pursue, and the quintet's lead was eight minutes at 80 km.
After the day's only intermediate sprint at 104 km, the bunch got serious about catching the break. Garmin-Cervelo and HTC-Highroad took command, and with 75 km remaining, slightly more than three minutes separated the escapees from the peloton.
On the Pont de Saint Nazaire, the wind temporarily split the peloton. The bunch's speed picked up, however, and more time was taken out of the fugitives.
With less than 20 km left and the break's lead down to less than a minute, Delage and Gutierrez dropped their companions. They led the peloton by 0:40, but the Katusha-led bunch reeled in the pair with nine km remaining.
With five km to go, HTC-Highroad took over at the front. Three km later, Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil) attacked. He was reeled in, but Geraint Thomas (Sky) countered. The bunch reeled him in as well.
Garmin-Cervelo was in the front at the last turn. HTC-Highroad's pace line had come unglued, and chaos reigned further back. Julian Dean and world road race champion Hushovd took Farrar to within 150 m of the finish, and Farrar charged into the lead. Feillu made a late move, but the American won by about half a bike length.
Farrar's victory was doubly satisfying for two reasons. The first is that it occurred on Independence Day. "I certainly would have taken it on any day," Farrar said. "But as an American, winning on the Fourth of July, it's the icing on the cake ... Lucky me."
The second reason has to do with how far Farrar has come in the last two months. He dropped out of the Giro d'Italia when his best friend, Wouter Weylandt (Leopard-Trek), was killed in a crash in Stage 3 of that race. For two weeks, he did not train. When the American crossed the finish line, he formed a "W" with his hands in honor of his friend.
In the overall, Hushovd leads teammate David Millar by a fraction of a second and Cadel Evans (BMC) by 0:01. Stage 4, a rolling, 172.5-km ride from Lorient to Mur-de-Bretagne, will end with a two-km climb to the finish. Who will win? Will Hushovd, who does well on uphill finishes, keep his yellow jersey? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and www.roadcycling.mobi and find out!
Find links to related articles further down this page and please support our advertisers...