CARMAUX, France — Tyler Farrar has studied the Tour de France course profiles, including the minute details of the final few hundred yards approaching finish lines.
As such, with 11 stages of the race’s 98th edition remaining, Farrar believes he has three opportunities left to win stages.
The first chance for the Wenatchee rider arrives Wednesday in Stage 11, a 104-mile trek from Blaye-les-Mines to Lavaur. The route, which begins in a small (3,200 residents), first-time Tour de France city dating to the 14th century. It ends in a second-time race city whose name translates into “hidden stream.”
Tour de France cyclists have little time to appreciate France’s history, and that includes Farrar. He’s hoping his Garmin-Cervelo teammates can get him into good position for the Stage 11 finish that suits him best — a wide, straight, flat road.
“I have a pretty good top-end speed,” said Farrar prior to today’s 10th stage in which he finished 137th in a 47-rider group 5 minutes, 59 seconds behind stage winner Andre Greipel (Omega Pharma-Lotto) of Germany. “It suits me well to have those drag-race finishes. I mean I can certainly do the technical finishes, too. But I like the drag-race ones.”
Farrar is now 155th among the remaining 178 riders, trailing race leader Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) of France by 1 hour, 1 minute and 32 seconds.
Stage 11 has a Category 3 climb about 17 miles into the stage, but the remainder of the course is largely flat, without any substantial elevation increases until a Category 4 (the easiest) climb about 20 miles from the finish.
If Farrar remains with the main group over the final small climb, which begins just outside of Lautrec, he’ll have his preferred flat, wide final waning half-mile to test his “drag-racing” abilities.
Following Stage 11, Farrar believes Stage 15 on Sunday and the final 21st stage onto the Champs Elysees on July 24 will mark his remaining chances.
“I don’t see any more other than that; everything else is too mountainous,” said Farrar, who won Stage 3 on July 4 to claim the first Tour de France stage win of his nine-year career.
He also was the first American to win a race stage on the Fourth of July.
Farrar’s final two opportunities won’t arrive without the most difficult days of the Tour de France for non-climbers.
The race’s first high-mountain stage arrives in Stage 12. It will mark the first of three days in the Pyrenees.
If Farrar fares well over the mountains and remains within the time cut, he’ll have Stage 15 to maneuver to the front for another sprinters’ stage. Three mountains in the Alps will follow.