Bad luck and a crucial mistake in the finale of Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne cost Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervélo) a clean run at victory on Sunday. The 26-year-old sprinter was forced to settle for fourth place in a bunch sprint behind Chris Sutton (Sky), Yauheni Hutarovich (FDJ) and André Greipel (Omega Pharma-Lotto).
"It was just a field sprint and Sky did a really good job of setting things up and CJ [Sutton] did a super sprint. I just made a mistake and I should have maybe gone on the other side but it's all maybes," Farrar told Cyclingnews at the finish.
The American came into the race in strong form and, after skipping the previous day's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, was a marked favourite. In fact, the first half of the race had gone perfectly for Farrar as he kept out of trouble and sat safely in the bunch.
As the main group of favourites crested the Oude Kwaremont, Farrar was present and with four Garmin-Cervélo riders with him.
"Everything was going perfectly and there were five of us in the front group going over the Kwaremont. I had the boys on the front because it felt like the right group and that if we could keep that away then it would be an easy group to manage."
However, his luck drastically changed at the foot of the next climb, the Mont du Trieu, where he punctured.
"I hit a hole and I flatted my back wheel so I took one from Daniel Lloyd and started chasing again. Travis Meyer waited for me and we were coming back and then my front wheel flatted so I had to take a wheel from him and had to chase again," Farrar said.
"I felt good but I'd already had to waste so much energy during the day coming back from flat tyres and all that."
Heading into the final kilometre Farrar was still in contention for the win but made a critical mistake and chose the wrong line.
"It was my mistake. CJ didn't make any big moves he just came around Boasson Hagen and I would have done the same thing. I just took the wrong line in the end but every now and then you make a mistake.
"I'm happy with the sensations but the objective was to win today so it's frustrating."
Farrar's next race is Italy's Montepaschi Strade Bianche on March 5th.