SUPER-BESSE SANCY, France — Wenatchee’s Tyler Farrar has two more stages, a few tough climbs and a rest day to regroup before another attempt at his second Tour de France stage win.
With the first medium mountain stage facing the field, including four categorized climbs, Farrar was content Saturday to support teammates early in Stage 8 and then conserve while overall title contenders jockeyed at the front of the race in the waning miles.
Farrar (Garmin-Cervelo)placed 165th in the remaining field of 188. Riding with a group of 59, he trailed stage winner Rui Alberto Costa (Movistar) of Portugal by about 20 minutes in the rainy 117.3-mile ride from Aigurande to the small ski resort that’s celebrating its 50th anniversary.
Farrar is now 159th overall, trailing teammate and race leader Thor Hushovd of Norway by 35 minutes, 56 seconds.
“The first week of the tour is always nervous,” Farrar said at his team’s bus prior to the stage. “There have been a lot of crashes this year, but there are always crashes in the first week.
“I think there have been quite a few small roads, maybe more than traditionally and maybe that has contributed a little bit, but you’re always going to have crashes like that.”
Farrar, who claimed Stage 3, on Monday, was also part of his squad’s team time trial victory in Stage 2, which vaulted Hushovd into the race lead.
Hushovd finished 15th in the Stage 8 in a group of 22 riders, 15 seconds behind Costa (Movistar) and successfully defended his race lead for a sixth day.
Cadel Evans (BMC) of Australia, who was third in the stage, is second overall, behind by 1 second. Frank Schleck (Saxo-Bank Sungard) is third, 4 seconds back.
Farrar had his sights on Stage 7 as one of his top days for a stage win. The profile was flat and the finish wide, ideal for the ninth-year pro. But Farrar was among about 80 riders who fell with about 25 miles left in the stage.
“No one made it back to the front group from that crash,” Farrar said. “I was a bit banged up, but nothing horrible. At that point in the race, it was so fast it’s hard to make up the ground.”
Stage 9 on Sunday will take the field 129.1 miles from Issoire to Saint-Flour on an up-and-down stage featuring eight categorized climbs. After a rest day Monday, Stage 10 is another rolling day with four climbs in a 98.1-mile stage from Aurillac to Carmaux.
Farrar will then target Stage 11 as his next sprint win opportunity, a 104-mile stage from Blaye-les-Mines to Lavaur. The stage has an early Category 3 climb and Category 4 effort late in the stage before a likely fast and flat final 20 miles.
“Stage 11, I think,” said Farrar assessing the upcoming stages. “Stage 10? I would be pretty surprised if it’s a full field sprint. It’s harder than it looks, I think.”