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Stage three winner Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervelo)
American remembers Weylandt with stage victory salute in Redon
Having had to wait three Tours de France for a stage win, Garmin-Cervelo has found themselves celebrating back-to-back victories after Tyler Farrar won stage 3 into Redon. The American sprinter capped off an unbeatable lead-out from yellow jersey and teammate Thor Hushovd to win ahead of Vacansoleil's Romain Feillu and Movistar's José Joaquín Rojas.
For Farrar it was an especially poignant moment. Not only has the American been chasing this moment for the past three years, he has also had to overcome the loss of his friend and professional cycling colleague Wouter Weylandt in May's Giro d'Italia.
"I've been to the Tour for a few years trying to win a stage, close several times but victory has eluded me until now. We showed yesterday just how strong our team is this year in the team time trial. That was a big relief and already a bit of pressure off our shoulders," he said.
"The way the boys rode today was just as incredible and it just keeps getting better now."
Farrar's progress as a sprinter has been steady but impressive. His stage win at Tirreno in 2009 was arguably his breakthrough moment but he missed out on a stage of that year's Tour de France, finishing second twice as rival Mark Cavendish dominated the bunch gallops.
Last year he stepped up another level, winning two stages in both the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta. However, a Tour win eluded him still after he crashed early in the race and was forced to abandon several days later.
"Two years ago I think I had the speed to win but maybe not the tactical savvy to ride the field sprints but I've progressed and I'm still learning."
Farrar had racked up over a dozen top three placings in the Tour, but today's first stage win means he can join Davis Phinney as an Ameican sprint winner.
"It was a nervous finish but our experience paid off and everyone timed it perfectly."
Farrar's build up to the Tour had been hit hard when his friend Wouter Weylandt died in a crash at the Giro. The following day Weylandt's Leopard-Trek teammates led the bunch over the line, with Farrar joining them in one of the most emotionally charged days in the sport's history. Farrar and Leopard Trek understandably left the race the next day.
"This has been a horrible last two months with everything that happened in the Giro. I've had a lot of ups and downs but in the end I wanted to come back and do something special and this is certainly the biggest stage that you can do that. I've trained hard and I could feel I was getting stronger over the last few weeks. It's a little bit unbelievable that it could happen. Everything just came together."
And while Weylandt's death will always be remembered, Farrar was able to enjoy the feeling in finally taking a win in the Tour de France, having been led out by Hushovd.
"It's a little bit of a special situation with Thor in yellow and the priority was for him to stay in yellow because the last thing we wanted was for a time gap. It just shows what a champion Thor is and how classy he is. A world champion in the yellow jersey doesn't have to lead out the sprint for a teammate, but I just can't say thank you enough to him and the whole team."