Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Transitions) won the sprint for fourth place on stage five at the Giro d'Italia, showing he is perhaps the fastest sprinter in the race, but that was little consolation for the American after the peloton failed to catch the three-man breakaway before the finish in Novi Ligure.
Farrar stopped to thank his teammates as he headed back to the finish area, thinking he had perhaps taken the red points jersey from Graeme Brown. However, even that escaped his grasp by the tiniest margin, with stage winner Jerome Pineau (Quick Step) pulling on the jersey. The two both have 39 points but Pineau got it thanks to his stage victory.
"I won the sprint behind but it's not quite the same when you're sprinting for fourth place. We did the best we could but the break was really strong and held us off, so good on them," Farrar told Cyclingnews.
The Lampre-Farnese Vini team complained that other teams did not help control the break in the second half of the stage, preferring to wait for the sprint. Farrar refuted their claims.
"We chased almost all day. We had guys in the rotation, so I don't think anyone could complain about that. We tried hard to win it. The peloton chased full gas in the finale for a long time. But they earned that win today, those guys. It was definitely not a freebie."
With flat stages so infrequent in this year's Giro d'Italia, Farrar will probably have to wait until next Monday's stage to Cava De' Tirreni, near Naples, for another chance for victory. Thursday's stage to Marina di Carrara includes two late climbs. Some sprinters may hang on to the bunch but it will be very difficult for their teams to control any late attacks.