Tyler Farrar recorded his second top-ten result of the 2010 Classics season, with a ninth place finish at Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday afternoon. Despite being unable to match last month's podium success at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, the American Garmin-Transitions rider said he is pleased with the progression he has shown in the Classics this year.
"The Classics were a huge objective for me. The first thing I always dreamed of was being a Classics rider. I'm doing my best to try and do it," he said after finishing as part of a six-man group that crossed the line 1:01 behind race winner Bernhard Eisel (HTC-Columbia).
"I was so far in the red chasing back on that if we'd have caught them with four or five to go, I don't think I would have had the legs to really sprint. It's a pity; it would have been really exciting. This, of all the Classics, was the one I was really targeting this year."
Farrar was pleased with his condition before and during Sunday's race, but missed a decisive move on the ascent of the Mont Noir, with 48 kilometres to go. His hesitation saw him forced to join forces with Baden Cooke (Saxo Bank), Luca Paolini (Acqua & Sapone) and Christian Knees (Milram) in a desperate, though ultimately unsuccessful, pursuit of the race-winning group.
"I was super motivated and I had fantastic legs. I missed the move when the group went away on the Mont Noir, I was in a group of 35 and I thought, 'Oh, they're not going to let the group go so easy'. I thought the group I was in was a little bit stronger, but the front group wouldn't let go," he explained.
"I tried to go across on the Rodeberg, but I couldn't go across on my own so I just sat up. Then I tried to go across on the Monteberg and the Kemmelberg with Knees and Paolini. We were just killing ourselves to get across. I thought when Breschel flatted (and dropped back), then maybe that was our chance to come back, but it wasn't quite enough. With the tailwind it's so hard to make up ground."
Although he missed an opportunity to affect the final outcome of the race, Farrar was pleased with his increasingly consistent presence at the front of the spring's races.
"It's something new for me being up there in those front groups and I'm still learning," he said. "I'm normally hiding in the group waiting for the sprint so it's a little exciting to be up in the front. It would have been nice if we could have come back."
Farrar will continue his Classics campaign next week at the Tour of Flanders. It will be the 25-year-old's first participation since 2008 and the third of his career. He was reserved about his expectations for the event, with several strong contenders already listed on the Garmin roster.
"I think [Martijn] Maaskant and [Johan] Vansummeren are favourites for Flanders, but I'll do my best and we'll see what happens," he said.