Bike Intelligencer » tyler farrar All bike, all the time Mon, 20 Jul 2015 21:20:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Tyler Farrar Becomes First Washington State Native to Win Tour de France Stage Mon, 04 Jul 2011 15:59:06 +0000 Seattle bike fans have been watching Wenatchee WA native Tyler Farrar for years, wondering how far his potential could carry him. He’s won many of cycling’s top honors, but so far a Tour de France stage win had eluded him.

That all changed today — America’s Independence Day, appropriately enough — when the 27-year-old sprint specialist bested the field in the Tour’s third stage, a flat 198-kilometer run from Olonne Sur Mer to Redon.

Farrar has played second fiddle in sprints to Mark the Mouth Cavendish, the Manx Missile. He’s had some tough luck against Cav along the way as well. But today his Garmin-Cervelo mates positioned Tyler perfectly, and it was Cavendish who had to bang his bars in frustration as his HTC leadout train fell apart in the closing seconds.

Farrar is a real gentleman and credit to the sport. His win could help draw mainstream Americans back to the Tour in the absence this year of legendary Lance Armstrong. In any case, it is a well-deserved triumph for a guy who has waited a long time and worked tirelessly to improve — all the unlikely way from quiet Columbia River roots.

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Tour de France 2010, Stage 13: Not unlucky for Vino! Sat, 17 Jul 2010 15:35:32 +0000 A bit of late drama in today’s Stage 13 of the 2010 Tour de France from Rodez to Revel in the southern end of the Massif Central gave an otherwise routine sprinter’s stage some spice. A few small climbs put baby teeth on the race profile, but in general it was accepted as a bunch-sprint finish, until …

Italian Alessandro Ballan jumped off the front in the final uphill riser, then Kazakhstan’s Alexander Vinokourov caught and passed him with 7 kilometers still remaining, speeding 14 and then 18 seconds ahead of the peloton. It was justice served for Vino, who nearly won yesterday’s Stage 12 before being passed by two Spaniards, Astana teammate Alberto Contador and stage winner Joaquim Rodriguez a few hundred yards before the finish.

This time, Vino was all alone.

We were happy for Vino, who has put his dope-clouded past behind him and, perhaps more significantly, seems to have adopted a “no-whine rule.” We once joked that “vino” is a synonym for “whine,” but he kept the lip zipped yesterday.

Brit Mark Cavendish took the ensuing bunch sprint, edging out Italian two-time stage winner (in this Tour) Alessandro Petacchi (our crack research team is calculating exactly how many “Alexes” there are in this year’s Tour). We’re still majorly bummed that Tyler Farrar had to pull out yesterday; this would have been the perfect stage for a head-to-head between Tyler and Mark the Mouth, both having lost their main leadout men. Make no mistake, Cavendish proved that he deserves the title of fastest man on two wheels. But that’s only as good as the next sprint, and we hope to see Tyler and Cav square off many times again in the future.

For now we’re looking forward to the next four days in the Pyrenees, starting with tomorrow’s Stage 14 ending in Ax-3 Domaines. Go Andy!

Full results from

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Tour de France 2010: A sad day as Tyler Farrar withdraws Fri, 16 Jul 2010 15:46:24 +0000 A day after being possibly cheated out of his first Tour de France stage win, Wenatchee’s Tyler Farrar has withdrawn from the 2010 Tour de France with a broken wrist.

It marked a nightmarish end to what could have been Farrar’s dream Tour. After wins in the spring classics and Giro d’Italia stages, Farrar was primed to give HTC’s Mark Cavendish a run and perhaps grab a stage or two in this year’s tough Tour.

Instead, Tyler has been riding with a fractured bone in his wrist since the second stage, defying pain as well as medical reality. But as his team manager put it to Versus TV today, “The guy is in a world of pain.” Today’s climbs, after yesterday’s drama, were too much for the courageous sprinter.

Farrar was challenging for the win in Stage 11 yesterday when HTC racer Mark Renshaw swerved in front of him, a clear violation of racing rules. Renshaw was later tossed out of the entire Tour, and an angry Farrar said the move might have caused a crash had he not backed off.

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Tour de France 2010: Cavendish, Renshaw and the culture of cheating Fri, 16 Jul 2010 14:05:17 +0000 Cycling fans who spent hours analyzing replays of Mark Renshaw’s head-butting and swerving incidents — and arguing over their legitimacy — during Stage 11 of the 2010 Tour de France were missing the point of his disqualification.

Whether it was fair to kick Renshaw out of the Tour, or that the judges overreacted to his jockeying, had little to do with the ruling. Instead the judges, in moving quickly and decisively, wanted to send a much broader message to the pro cycling circuit.

Team HTC and its two Marks — Renshaw and the world’s fastest human on wheels, Cavendish — have adopted a win-at-all-costs strategy that, unfortunately, has reached the point of cheating. In making their ruling, the judges were saying, in effect, It’s time to stop with the bullying and “gladiator” tactics and do the racing “straight up.”

It’s time to play fair.

Wenatchee’s Tyler Farrar, who may have been cheated out of his first-ever Tour stage win, was visibly angry but managed to be his usual articulate and measured self, pointing out that the rules state you ride in a straight line during a final sprint. Whether Renshaw meant to cut off Tyler or not is beside the point; he broke the rules, and he did so knowingly.

Still, it seems obvious that had this been an isolated and first-time offense for Cavendish and his Team HTC mates, a lighter punishment might have been meted out. But it wasn’t.

Cavendish in particular has been repeatedly at the center of questionable tactics. He was himself disqualified from a 2009 Tour stage for playing dirty against rival Thor Hushovd. Earlier this season he caused a sensational crash in the Tour of Switzerland, leading to penalization and even a fine.

Most extraordinarily, the rest of the riders joined in a mass protest the next day against Mark the Mouth and associates. Having your comrades align against you is about as clear an indictment as can be handed out.

The protest should have been enough to get HTC to sit up and ride straight. Instead its only apparent lasting effect was to prompt Cav to shed tears of relief on the podium after his first stage win in the Tour last week. Much ink was wasted after Cavendish’s emotional display to the effect that he was putting his bad boy image to rest.

Instead, he may have merely been passing the baton.

Until yesterday, Cavendish was considered a lone outlaw. But when they saw his swagger poisoning the rest of his team with Renshaw’s actions, the judges decided to put an emphatic end to the spread of infection. If the gangrene of Cavendish’s ego is making its way to the limbs of his team support, then the only correct procedure is amputation.

This is bike racing, not professional wrestling, they declared (in so many words). If Renshaw wants to head-butt his way to victory, he is now free to join the WWE.

He’ll have to shed the helmet, though.

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Tour de France 2010, Stage 11: Was Tyler Farrar cheated by head-butting? Thu, 15 Jul 2010 16:08:47 +0000 Sprinting with a broken wrist, Wenatchee cycling hero Tyler Farrar finished third in a Stage 11 that might have been his if not for questionable heat-butting tactics by Mark Cavendish teammate and leadout man Mark Renshaw.

That’s right. As fierce as the competition has been on the Tour, we’re now at the point of head-butting to gain an edge.

TV footage showed clearly that Farrar teammate Julian Dean, riding as Tyler’s leadout man in the absence of Robbie Hunter, was impeded by Renshaw in repeated head butts. And that subsequently Farrar himself was cut off by Renshaw swerving alongside him. It may have been the impeding of Farrar, in fact, rather than the head-butting, that got Renshaw DQ’d.

A distraught Farrar — the cool-headed Tyler seldom blows a gasket — all but accused Renshaw of illegal tactics in the post-race Versus interview.

We’ll wait for the judges’ review, but to our eyes it looked like Tyler was cheated. He may not have beat Cavendish anyway, but Renshaw’s actions were out of line. (Renshaw denied in post-race interviews that he intentionally impeded Dean.)

[UPDATE: Twitter feeds are saying that Renshaw has been disqualified from the Tour.]

Full stage results from

At the start of the stage, Farrar got more bad news when his Garmin-Transitions teammate and lead-out man Hunter had to pack it in with a broken elbow.

Joining a parade of riders with an incredible array of ailments and broken bones in this year’s Tour, Hunter withdrew after taking a spill in yesterday’s otherwise uneventful Stage 10.

Farrar himself is riding with a cracked bone in his wrist, an admirable feat given the inevitable pain and suffering any break entails. Farrar still hopes to make it to Paris and has another couple of tries for his first Tour de France stage win ever in sprint finishes.

But it’s not going to be easy with Hunter missing. An experienced, savvy and most of all bullet-strong sprinter himself, Hunter was the key to Farrar’s hopes for a sprint win. Not all is lost with Hunter’s departure, but it makes Farrar’s job all the more difficult.

Tomorrow’s hilly stage could supply some drama if climbers decide to make a race of it.

Additional notes:

If you’re wondering, as I was, if a DQ from the overall Tour had happened before, Belgian rider Tom Steels was disqualified in 1997 for tossing a water bottle at a competitor in the final sprint. (Thanks to @sonofabike on Twitter.)

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Tour de France 2010, Stage 5: Tyler Farrar is baacckkk! Thu, 08 Jul 2010 18:22:45 +0000 Mark the Mouth Cavendish won today’s Tour de France Stage 5 in a sprint at the finish, and won it decisively. But it was the return of Wenatchee’s Tyler Farrar to the sprinters’ ranks that made the day for us.

Cavendish: Tears of a winner

Otherwise the stage was a straightforward day on the flatlands in France, with everyone getting the same time and the yellow jersey staying with Fabian Cancellara.

In a pre-stage interview with Versus, Farrar was curiously coy about how he and his team, Garmin-Transitions, would play the day. The interviewer focused on Farrar’s teammates Robbie Hunter and Julian Dean — figuring, like the rest of the cycling universe, that Farrar would spend the stage recuperating from the broken wrist he suffered in Stage 2.

After the interview, veteran commentator Phil Liggett reiterated that Farrar had no chance in the stage, given how a sprinter must pull on the handlebars during the final out-of-the-saddle pounding toward the finish line.

Now we know why Farrar was so non-committal. He and Garmin were planning a little surprise for the final sprint.

Farrar made a strategic mistake, winding up on the wrong side of Dean during the final lead-out, but in any case did not appear to be at full strength. Which is fine. The fact that he’s back in the thick of things when many others would be throwing in the towel shows him to be a true champion, stage 5 win or no.

Other notes:

  • Lance Armstrong is back to being heckled over alleged doping, a common practice during his 7-straight yellow jerseys but noticeably absent in last year’s comeback Tour.
  • Cavendish, whom we like to tease as Mark the Mouth (we actually like his brash outspokenness) but who undoubtedly prefers the nickname “Manx Missile,” dissolved into tears on the podium. We assume tears of joy, or tears of relief, at his return to form after a pretty disastrous spring of disappointments (crashes, penalization and the cold shoulder of the peloton), but there may be a backstory as well that on-the-scene reporters will enlighten us with.
  • And Paul Sherwen again gets the line of the day (besting previous champion Bob Roll) with a comment that “adding to the colors of the team jerseys in this Tour de France is the white of bandages that so many riders are wearing.” A testament to the innumerable crashes marring the early stages of the Tour.
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Tour de France 2010, Stage 4: Order is restored…for now Wed, 07 Jul 2010 15:54:12 +0000 Italian Alessandro Petacchi again showed his top form for this year’s Tour de France, winning Stage 4 in a mass sprint at the finish, beating out Stage 3 winner Thor Hushovd and pre-race favored sprinter Mark the Mouth Cavendish for top honors in the roundabout-strewn run through Reims.

Stage 5 tomorrow will be pretty much a repeat of today’s race, with an anticipated sprint finish.

[As an aside, we continue to be distraught at Tyler Farrar’s wrist injury, believing firmly that Tyler would have won either yesterday or today or both, given his prime conditioning and perfect team dynamic on Garmin-Transitions. It looks like Cavendish has been spending too much time promoting his new book, Boy Racer. Those chicken dinners can really catch up with you.]

Overall, Stage 4 was a fairly routine, flat and crashless race — marking a departure for this year’s Tour. And the weather, although on the hot side, was at least clear and dry.

After the oil-slickened pavement of Stage 2 and yesterday’s cobblestoned nightmare, a flat profile and leisurely pace must have been a welcome change of venue for the peloton.

Random notes:

We’re still in awe that Wenatchee’s Tyler Farrar is hanging in there with a broken wrist. It has to be a dispiriting turn of events, but if anyone has the character to handle it, it’s Tyler.

Alan at EcoVelo muses on fandom burnout and is running a poll on whether you’re watching [so far pretty equally split between yes, no and shrug]. We noticed similar sentiments from David Schloss at BikeHugger. The feeling seems to be that with all the doping allegations, Lance’s star is crossed, the peloton is tainted and cycling’s reputation provides little incentive to cheer for anyone. But David seems to have gotten back on board and our view is that as the Tour progresses, particularly if it’s in a wide-open fashion, the initially alienated fans will come back in droves. It would help if Americans had a homeboy to root for (besides Lance), which role Tyler Farrar would have served admirably and, we hope, still may.

Anyone who’s ridden even a few hundred yards with a warped wheel handicapped by brake rub knows how annoying and demoralizing it can be. Turns out Alberto Contador rode with brake rub for 30 kilometers yesterday. That must’ve been one bad boy, since usually you can eliminate the problem by adjusting or quick-releasing the brake.

Good point from Barry Ryan on re Andy Schleck: “The loss of his brother Frank will doubtless be a blow to his morale, but perhaps he will now be freer to ride his own race. Last year, it could be argued that the younger Schleck focused a little too much on trying to get his brother onto the podium alongside him.”

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Tour de France 2010: Tyler Farrar’s broken wrist leaves fans in pain Mon, 05 Jul 2010 20:34:19 +0000 Wenatchee’s Tyler Farrar, gunning for his first stage win in the Tour de France, may be out of the race completely after reportedly fracturing his wrist in today’s crash-besotted Stage 2.

We’ve yet to see any official confirmation of a withdrawal [Update: Tyler as of late Monday plans to start Stage 3] and are keeping our fingers crossed. But (if true) a broken wrist, especially for a sprinter, leaves little hope Tyler can continue.

It’s a terrible shame, because Farrar was supposed to provide the biggest challenge to Mark the Mouth Cavendish, the world’s fastest human on two wheels, in sprint finishes during the Tour. Bad luck also struck Tyler yesterday in Stage 1, when he was poised (after Cavendish crashed out of contention) to slingshot into a triumphant sprint victory but got hooked by an out-of-control “Willie the Weaver” move from AG2R rider Lloyd Mondory, costing Farrar his rear derailleur and a run for victory.

Although Mondory caused the collision in a chain-of-events mishap (he was pushed from behind), Tyler wound up apologizing for unintentionally calling him a “Frog” in Flemish after the race. Clearly Farrar has had a couple of bad breaks in the Tour, figuratively and literally. And now it appears he’s out of the race before it really begins.

Bad luck and all, Farrar can’t hold a candle in the star-crossed category to fellow American competitor Christian Vande Velde, who once again crashed out of a Grand Tour (with two broken ribs) despite high hopes that his black cloud had lifted. Vande Velde crashed out of both the 2009 and 2010 Giro d’Italias.

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Tour de France 2010, Stage 1: Crash city! Sun, 04 Jul 2010 16:39:06 +0000 The 2010 edition of the Tour de France got off to a crash-ridden (if that’s not a contradiction in terms) start with more pileups than we can remember in a major Grand Tour stage.

Not only were there a lot — five altogether — a couple were highly unusual. In one case a dog, it looked like maybe a setter, ran out into the peloton. Giro d’Italia winner Ivan Basso went down in that one. There were also a couple of corner crashes and some near-misses on hairpins as well.

But the worst was saved for the last, and it set the table for the kind of unpredictability that made this year’s Giro so entertaining to watch. Just a minute or so from the finish line a huge tumble took out Mark Cavendish, the favorite to win the sprint finish — suddenly propelling Wenatchee’s Tyler Farrar into a potential win.

Farrar, as he later pointed out, was perfectly positioned, too — near but not at the front, ready to be slingshot into the fore by a lineup of teammates. Then disaster took him out too. Another rider’s front wheel touched Farrar’s rear wheel and caught its spokes in Tyler’s rear derailleur, tearing off the shifter. The rider went tumbling off, leaving Farrar towing his bike for several yards.

Italian Alessandro Pettachi, suspended in 2008 for overuse of asthma medicine in a case not considered doping, won the sprint in a finish that was hardly the gladiator faceoff expected between Cavendish and Farrar. Both of those riders handled their disappointment with shrug-of-the-shoulders aplomb. “These things happen in bike racing,” Farrar told the Versus Channel (34 on Seattle Comcast), which by the way is providing peerless coverage of this year’s Tour.

Because of the late crashes, everyone was given the same time, leaving overall standings unaffected and Fabian “Spartacus” Cancellara in the yellow jersey. Tomorrow’s stage 2 may result in a bit of a shakeup, containing the Tour’s first climbs.

Full report from VeloNews.

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Tour de France 2010: Trash talk heating up Thu, 01 Jul 2010 15:29:37 +0000 There’s nothing like pre-race jawboning to raise the hype for a sporting event, and this year’s Tour de France pre-chatter is not disappointing.

First, our local hero, Wenatchee’s Tyler Farrar, says his goal is not the green jersey but simply his first Tour stage win ever. Or maybe two. Or actually, if by some freak happenstance (such as Mark the Mouth Cavendish getting disqualified or something) he did manage to qualify for the green jersey — well, hey, he wouldn’t turn it down.

Then there’s the flap over at Team Saxo Bank, where they’re whispering that Andy and Frank Schleck, Nos. 2 and 5 in last year’s Tour, are set to bolt to a new team based in their home base of Luxembourg and captained by Kim Andersen, formerly with Saxo.

And Ivan Basso would love to match his Giro title with a Tour win … on a Cannondale of course.

As for Lance Armstrong and his Team Radio Shack, they’re making headlines by keeping quiet. No press conference, no pre-race hoopla. Speculation is that TRS doesn’t want to face a press corps full of questions about doping, but our suspicion is that neither Lance nor team manager Johan Bruyneel, who would be the natural focus of a press event, have much to add to what’s been said, or at least tweeted, already. Brer Fox he lay low. Brer Fox he say nothin’.

Lance tweeted that Stage 3, the cobblestoned nightmare, is and we quote: “Going. To. Be. Carnage.” As cool as Lance is for biking, we love how he really truly “gets” Twitter.

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