Tyler Farrar’s second stage win at the Giro d’Italia in the southern town of Bitonto confirmed that he made the right decision by choosing to ride in Italy rather than at the Tour of California.
In February the Garmin-Transitions team was still undecided whether Farrar would ride the Giro for a second time or ride the Tour of California as America’s biggest stage race had been moved to May.
“We decided to come here to win stages and it’s working, so I’m happy with the choice we made of riding the Giro for stages and California for GC. We split the team in two for seeking different goals and to win a second stage at the Giro is amazing”, Farrar told Cyclingnews in Bitonto.
One year ago, Farrar had never even started a Grand Tour. Now he is riding his fifth Grand Tour and has won three stages and collected a string of placings. Farrar turned professional at the age of 18 with Jelly Belly before joining HealthNet and then Cofidis in 2006, meaning he rode as a professional for six years until he got a start in his first Grand Tour.
“When I was 22, in my first year with Cofidis, I wasn’t physically ready”, he explained. “At 23, I was ready but the team told me no. At 24, my new team, Garmin, wasn’t yet getting invitations for all the big races. I was frustrated to not ride a Grand Tour.”
In 2009 he started all three Grand Tours, the Giro, the Tour de France and the Vuelta, finishing in the top five on five occasions at the Giro (he was second twice), five times in the top 5 of stages of the Tour de France (second twice) and five times in the top 5 of stages of the Vuelta a Espana where he got his first Grand Tour win. After two stage wins at the Giro d’Italia this year, Farrar has definitely earned the title of the world’s “Most Improved Sprinter” in the last 12 months. The debate is still open about if he is currently the best sprinter in the world.
“I’ll leave it up to the journalists to say who is the best sprinter these days, I don’t know because we’re at different races at the moment”, Farrar said, referring to Mark Cavendish, who won the first stage at the Tour of California.
He was just happy to share his victory with his teammates and especially last man Julian Dean.
“I couldn’t ask for a better lead out”, he said, revealing that he had thought about sitting up and letting the Kiwi win the stage.
“I had a good position for going out of the wheels at the last moment”, Farrar said. “Such a slightly uphill finish was perfect for me. It’s not me but Julian (Dean) who did something extraordinary. I have the best lead out man in the world at the moment. I was going to let him ahead and take the win but I’d seen Sabatini was coming behind me and I had to keep the win in the team.”