By Shane Stokes, Irishcycling.com
Up and coming rider Tyler Farrar left America on Thursday for Belgium, where he will race as part of the US under 23 national squad for the first part of the season. The 20 year old has already shown some sparkling form this year despite a collarbone break over the winter, winning the third stage of the recent Valley of the Sun race and finishing fourth overall. He was also second on stage two.
Speaking to Cyclingnews the day before his flight to Europe (Thursday), Farrar said he was looking forward to the 2005 season. "I'm motivated. Every year I feel like I am making big improvements in my strength, my speed and my experience. I definitely feel like I am more fit than at this time last year.
"I go over with the US National under 23 team. For the first part of the trip, we will be racing almost completely in Belgium in lots and lots of one-day races, in Espoir World Cup events such as the Grand Prix de Waregem and other races like that.
"My plan is to stay in Europe and then I will fly back just in time for the Tour of Georgia. I will be riding that with the US National team. I am really excited because it is my first-year riding that race, so that should be a good experience. Then it is as back over to Europe for another couple of weeks with the National team. I am not sure exactly what I will be doing, I think a couple of stage races. And then, after that, it as back to the States for the US Pro Championships, Philly Week."
Farrar won a stage in the Tour de l'Avenir last year and will return there after some time racing with his Health Net p/b Maxxis team in the US. The strong sprinter will then target the world Under 23 championships in Madrid, the race taking part on the type of course which is tailor made for a bunch gallop.
Longer term, he's hoping to earn a place on a ProTour team and do some of the sports biggest races. "I really hope within the next year or two to be racing full-time over in Europe. I would love to be racing the Classics such as Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders, and the Grand Tours. It may take four or five years to get there, but you never know how good you are going to get until you try. So I just have to see how far I can make it."
Look out for a full Tyler Farrar interview on Cyclingnews in the next few days.