Giro d'Italia: Farrar winning in Europe, while Cavendish rules in California
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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Giro d'Italia: Farrar winning in Europe, while Cavendish rules in California

by Steve Jones at 5:41 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Giro d'Italia, Tour of California
Who will rule the sprints in July

Tyler FarrarTyler Farrar (Garmin-Transitions) took a convincing victory in stage 10 of the Giro d’Italia today, and with every success the American is building his confidence towards the Tour de France this July.  His leadout man Julian Dean put in a big acceleration in the final kilometer and gapped the Team Sky rider behind him, but Farrar stayed calm and was able to easily power his way through to the line.

For a change, today’s events followed the typical formula for a flat stage, and provided a welcome respite to the riders after nine days mixed with chaos, carnage and challenging weather conditions.  The trio of Charly Wegelius (OmegaPharma-Lotto), Dario Cataldo (Quick Step) and Hubert Dupont (AG2R-La Mondiale) rode away from the peloton early on, and were allowed nearly 8 minutes before Team Sky began to pull them back.  The British team was eventually joined by American teams HTC-Columbia and Garmin-Transitions, and the three escapees were back in the peloton with just over 16 kilometers remaining.

The run into the finish saw the sprinter’s teams battle for the sharp end of the peloton, with the powerful HTC-Columbia train finally being derailed as they navigated the twisting streets of Bitonto.  HTC-Columbia’s Andre Greipel was expected to be the sprinter to beat in this year’s Giro d’Italia, but he finished in a disappointing seventh place.

Mark CavendishFarrar was clearly faster than everyone else on today’s flat run into the line, which can be seen as an answer to Mark Cavendish’s win in stage one of the Tour of California two days ago.  Cavendish struggled early on this season with health problems, but says he’s back to top form and fears none of his rivals.  July’s showdown for sprint supremacy looks like it could come down to Farrar and the Manxman, but the big question is whether it will even be close.

In the stage one sprint finish at the Tour of California Saxo Bank’s JJ Haedo was briefly able to come alongside Cavendish before conceding defeat.  Last year sprinters were lucky to hang onto the Manx Missile’s slipstream, so his adversaries could see that as a weakness.  Haedo hasn’t shown the dominance he did in North America since moving over to Europe, which also raises some questions.

Is Haedo faster or is Cavendish slower?

If Cavendish is slower, would Farrar have given him a run for his money?

Farrar definitely looks stronger than last year, but Cavendish is probably still building his form back to 100 percent.  Last year he was beaten by Farrar and Alessandro Petacchi, the latter more because of his racing savvy.  It’s likely that Farrar would have given him a run for his money if they were both in the same race right now, but it’s early yet, and a gambling man could end up poor betting against the HTC-Columbia rider come July.  The American is highly motivated though, and definitely has the talent to pull off a surprise.


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