Garmin-Cervelo will head into Sunday’s Tour of Flanders with a three-pronged attack consisting of Tyler Farrar, Thor Hushovd and Heinrich Haussler. Despite strength in numbers they are well aware that the man to beat will Fabian Cancellara, but Farrar, who finished fourth last year, is confident that the team can play all their cards in a bid to not just stop Cancellara, but also win the team’s first Classic.
“I feel really good. The racing has gone well the last few weeks with Tirreno, and I had decent results in Waregem and Gent-Wevelgem so the legs are there and I’ve had really good feelings in recon. I hope I’m ready. We have a lot of cards to play, we might as well use them.”
Farrar’s best chance of winning will come down to following wheels and how much the race splinters on the climbs before the finish.
“I think Thor and Heinrich are more leaders for Sunday than I am. They’re riders that can go in moves and that can follow guys like Cancellara when he goes on climbs. For me it’s more a matter of hanging on and if things come back together and it’s a group sprinting for a result, then we’ll see but I think it’s more of a race for those two, ” he said.
Asked what had been missing from Garmin’s Classics campaign so far, Farrar was adamant that the team had raced well, and that they’d been missing small differences that would have catapulted them from third in Dwaars door Vlaanderen and Gent-Wevelgem into winners.
“A bit of luck. There have been several days this year when we’ve done everything right and we’ve not come away empty handed and been up in the mix. We’ve just missed that little bit between third place and a victory.”
World champion Hushovd has yet to finish on any podium this season but the canny Norwegian is an expert in picking his objectives for the season and despite his poor result in Milan-San Remo, where he was caught behind a crash on Le Maine, he too is confident that the team can excel in Flanders.
“I’m feeling good. Over the last couple of weeks the form hasn’t been too bad, even though I’ve not had any results. That’s just racing and things don’t always work out how you want them but I think my body and my legs are good. Anything can happen on Sunday.”
“I picked out my goals early in the season and the first one at San Remo, that was a day when nothing worked out for the team, but now there are two big goals left and I’m hoping that on one of these two days I can win something.”
When it comes to form, fitness and confidence, Haussler is perhaps the biggest unknown. Dropped on the Poggio at San Remo and reduced to tears after the race, he has begun to find his legs in the last few weeks. However he admitted that he’s still not the rider he was in 2009 and that the final two or three percent of his form is missing.
“After San Remo I know where I stand,” he said.
“I’m up there but there’s still two or three per cent that’s missing from my form in 2009. I’m not complaining, I’ve done all the training and I’ve wanted to do and I’ll do my best. We have a strong team and we’ve got good chances.”