Tour de France Notebook, stage 4: Farrar’s breakthrough, Van Garderen close to white

A look at the jersey competitions and more from stage 4

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

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2011 Tour de France, stage 4
Farrar and friends waiting for their call-up before stage 4. Photo: Casey B. Gibson

MUR-DE-BRETAGNE, France (VN) — Tyler Farrar’s breakthrough stage victory Monday could lead to even more. At least that’s what Garmin-Cervélo is hoping from its top sprinter in the coming stages.

“Now Tyler knows he can win. That barrier is no longer there. His victory was very important for his confidence,” said Garmin-Cervélo sport director Lionel Marie. “He knows he can do it. And he knows he has the team riding for him.”

Farrar broke through Monday to win his first career Tour stage after notching six second and third places through the 2009 and 2010 Tours. With the support of David Millar, Thor Hushovd and Julian Dean in the finale, Farrar will have strong team support in the coming clashes with Mark Cavendish and the other sprinters.

Marie said the confidence-boost that Farrar takes from the victory is even more important.

“Tyler has learned a lot over the past few years. He has won some big races, but now he has won at the Tour,” Marie said. “Tyler has the power and I am sure he will be strong in the coming days. Emotionally, it was very big for him to win after what he’s been through the past few months with his friend (the death of Wouter Weylandt).”

Marie also said Farrar is looking good in the intermediate sprints, a sign that he’s on good form. Farrar “won” the intermediate sprint at 94km behind the day’s main breakaway Tuesday, something he did on Saturday as well. Farrar didn’t contest the intermediate sprint Monday in order to save his legs for the finale, which paid off in dividends with the victory.

“His confidence is higher and you can see it in how he rides,” Marie continued. “The intermediate sprints are different than a finale, but to take points there is important, too. His legs are strong and now his morale is, too.”

Jerseys: Van Garderen one second from white jersey

White: Tejay Van Garderen (HTC-Highroad) pulled within one second of the white jersey in Tuesday’s fourth stage. Gerraint Thomas (Sky) defended the jersey, with teammate Edvald Boasson Hagen tied with him on time. Van Garderen moved up to third on the white jersey standings at one second back. (White jersey standings)

Yellow: Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervélo) defended the leader’s jersey by finishing with the front group of 10 riders to keep his slender, one-second grip on yellow ahead of Cadel Evans (BMC). Frank Schleck (Leopard-Trek) slotted into third at four seconds back while David Millar (Garmin-Cervélo), who started the day tied with Hushovd, slipped to fourth at eight seconds back. (Yellow jersey standings)

Green: José Rojas (Movistar) defended the green jersey with 82 points, while Evans moved into second with 80. (Green jersey standings)

Polka-dot: Evans claimed the King of the Mountains jersey with victory atop the third-category climb. (KOM jersey standings)

Most combative: Jérémy Roy (FDJ) won the day’s most combative prize after riding in the main breakaway.

Best team: Garmin-Cervélo kept its hold of the best team category. (Team standings)

Medical report

Crashes in the “depart fictiv et reel”: Damiano Cunego (Lampre), superficial cuts to left buttocks; Laurent Mangel (Saur-Sojasun), contusion to right buttocks.

Jury decisions

  • Vacansoleil sport director Hilaire Vander Schueren, fined 200CHF for an infraction “concerning the circulation of the vehicle”
  • John Gadret (Ag2r), fined 100CHF for “peeing in public”
  • Cofidis sport director Didier Rous fined 200CHF for “comportement incorrect” from the team car
  • Matteo Tosatto (Saxo Bank-Sungard), Insausti Izagirre (Euskaltel-Euskadi), José Gutierrez (Movistar), John Gadret (Ag2r) – all fined 30CHF each for “bidden collé” – sticky water bottles – for taking pulls from team cars
  • Sport directors Brad McGee (Saxo Bank-Sungard), Gorka Gerrikagoitita (Euskaltel), Yvon Ledanois (Movistar) and Vincent Lavenu (Ag2r) – all fined 50CHF each for above infraction

Weather forecast

Partly cloudy with showers throughout the day, 30kph-40kph southwesterly winds, with gusts up to 50kph; high temps at 20-C

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