Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) hadn't won a race on European soil since stage 3 of the 2011 Tour de France, but that more than two year dearth of victories came to a conclusion on Saturday as he prevailed in the field sprint finale in stage 3 of the Tour de l'Eurométropole.
Farrar won twice in North America during 2012, stages 1 and 5 at Colorado's USA Pro Challenge, and his only previous victory during the 2013 season came during stage 4 at the Amgen Tour of California. It hasn't been for the lack of trying, though, as the 29-year-old American has been tantalisingly close to other wins with 12 top-three results in 2013, including most recently a 2nd to Michael Matthews in the Vuelta a Espana's final stage, but it all came together for Farrar today.
"The guys were fantastic today," Farrar said. "It was a super hectic finishing circuit, but the guys rode great and kept me out of trouble. It's been a long wait for a European victory so it's a big relief to finally get that monkey off my back this season."
With the time bonus earned for today's victory Farrar now holds third overall, seven seconds down on race leader Jens Debusschere (Lotto Belisol) and four seconds back on second-placed Michael Morkov (Saxo-Tinkoff) entering the final stage on Sunday.
And while there had been lingering doubts for Farrar about his team situation for 2014, he told Nieuwsblad.be after his stage win that he'd remain with his current team for another season.
"I'll continue next year with Garmin-Sharp," said Farrar. "I signed for a season."
And with the morale coming from a victory and contract renewal, Farrar would like to close out his season on a high note in his final two races, Sunday's concluding stage at Tour de l'Eurométropole plus Paris-Tours one week later on October 13. In 2008 Farrar finished 5th in the French semi-classic.
"I hope to do better in Tours," Farrar told Nieuwsblad.be. "I feel a little stronger every day."