American rider Tyler Farrar is looking forward to this season's biggest challenge, the Tour de France, with confidence thanks to solid results so far in 2009. He finished the Giro d'Italia with two second places and won the overall of the Delta Tour Zeeland last weekend.
"I think there is a reasonably good chance I can win a stage there [the Tour]," Farrar told Cyclingnews.
Garmin-Slipstream's sprinting weapon finished second in Zeeland's second and third stages on Saturday and Sunday to take the overall win. He took the lead courtesy of a victory in Friday's 2.7km prologue.
The Zeeland test against Alessandro Petacchi confirmed that Farrar's performances in Tirreno-Adriatico early in the spring and at the Giro d'Italia last month were no strokes of luck. He's now on track for his second Grand Tour appearance at the Tour de France, starting July 4.
"I was pretty happy with my Giro as a whole, even if I would have liked to win a stage. I took a little rest after and just eased into training right before this weekend. I wasn't really sure where my form would be, but I was pleasantly surprised," explained Farrar.
"It's a really good sign for the Tour and I will be able to be really competitive there."
Garmin has yet to name its official nine-man Tour de France team, but should announce its decision following this week's Tour de Suisse. Farrar is confident in his selection, and is tailoring his preparation towards that outcome.
He will continue training and race a few local criteriums near his European base in Gent, Belgium before heading to Garmin-Slipstream's 'headquarters' in Girona, Spain, prior to the Tour de France.
"There will be several opportunities in the first week and a few more in the second week, but the third week looks pretty mountainous. I think there will be more opportunities than the Giro," said Farrar.
If the 25-year-old gets his opportunity he will join a prestigious list of sprinters who have won Tour de France stages - which includes the likes of Mario Cipollini and Erik Zabel, two riders Farrar cited as heroes in the development of his own career.
"Cipollini and Zabel where the guys who made an impression on me when I was young, they were winning everything," he said. "I remember one year  Cipollini won four stages in a row, which made a big impression on me."