After taking six stage victories at this year's Tour de France, Mark Cavendish's dominance in the sprints may be under threat from Tyler Farrar in the 2010 edition of la grande boucle.
The route for next season's Tour edition was unveiled yesterday in Paris and the American fast man, who has enjoyed a stellar 2009, could well be the rider to tame Columbia-HTC's undisputed sprint king.
"It's an interesting course; the organisers always try to make it exciting and there's a prologue," Farrar told The Wenatchee World. He wasn't in the French capital for the presentation but followed it online. "It's a little longer than is ideal for me, but I think it will be good way to start with hopefully a good result early," he added.
Farrar broke through in the Grand Tours this season with a stage win in Caravaca de la Cruz at the Vuelta a España, the pinnacle of a great year that included victories at Tirreno-Adriatico, the Delta Tour Zeeland, the Hamburg Cyclassics and dominance at the Circuit Franco-Belge.
He narrowly missed a stage win at this year's Tour, although after his experience in Spain he should go into next July with added confidence. "Usually, in the Grand Tours there's at least six, but maybe eight or nine sprinters' stages," continued Farrar.
"I raced better later in the  season; I had better legs after the Tour than during," he said. "I think next year, the team will have more confidence in me at the Tour. I think we'll have two or three guys there for me in lead-outs instead of one."
In terms of the route, Farrar is familiar with the roads of the sprint stages, which only serves to improve his chances. "If a stage ends on a certain road, I might know where there's a certain small hill or a tricky corner. I've raced most of the road at one time or another," he explained.
Having ridden three Grand Tours in 2009, Farrar knows what to expect from the year's big events and can plan his 2010 programme directly, especially once he's aware of what's on offer for next year's editions. "If the Tour of Italy has more sprinters' stages, I'll probably race there," he said.
"The Tour of California is a big priority for the team [Garmin-Slipstream] being an American-sponsored outfit, so if there are a lot of sprinters' stages in California, I'll probably race there. We'll just have to wait for the specific courses."
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