Tyler Farrar won’t be participating in the 2013 Tour de France.
The Wenatchee native wasn’t chosen as one of Team Garmin-Sharp’s riders for the race, which will start Saturday.
Farrar, a renowned sprint racer, had participated in every Tour de France race since 2009.
“Tyler is disappointed (to not participate in the Tour de France),” Tyler’s father, Ed, told the World on Thursday. “But he’s on a contract (with Garmin-Sharp), and the team makes the decisions. Tyler accepts whatever the boss says.”
Ed Farrar said that Tyler was left off of Team Garmin-Sharp’s roster because the team is shifting its strategy for the race.
“Over the past two years, the team has been moving further and further away from (focusing on) winning sprint stages and moving toward placing higher in the overall and the climbing races, so they have been hiring more riders who are climbers and fewer sprinters. They’ve been changing their team goals,” Ed Farrar said. “When Lance Armstrong was racing, you never saw anybody from U.S. Postal (Armstrong’s team) out in front in a sprint stage; the goal was not to try to win that stage, but to try to place higher in the overall classification.
“Tyler didn’t get much support last year, and he’s had even less support this year with the lead-out train. To win a sprint stage, you have to have a team working to put together the lead-out; otherwise, it’s every man for himself. Other teams have sprinters that do well and are organized. Those teams are focused on winning sprint stages, and they don’t bring as many climbers. They want to win the sprint stages and take the green jersey. There’s a difference of team objectives for this year’s race.”
The Team Garmin-Sharp squad, announced Tuesday, features 2012 Giro d’Italia champion and former top-10 finisher Ryder Hesjedal; American Andrew Talansky, making his Tour de France debut; 2013 Liege-Baston-Liege winner Dan Martin; two-time top-10 finisher Christian Vande Velde; top-10 finisher Tom Danielson; stage winner David Millar; and recent Giro d’Italia stage winner Ramunas Navardausaks. The roster is rounded out by Jack Bauer and Rohan Dennis, both making their Tour de France debuts.
Three other Team Garmin-Sharp riders that participated in the Tour de France a year ago — Johan Vansummeren, Dave Zabriskie and Robbie Hunter — weren’t asked to ride in the 2013 race.
“We have a deep team with a lot of options as we head into the Centennial Tour de France. Our goal is to animate the race and with an aggressive strategy — we will aim to place high in the general classification,” Team Garmin-Sharp chief executive officer Jonathan Vaughters said in a press release.
“We have a few guys capable of achieving that — Ryder’s won a Grand Tour and placed in the top 10 of the Tour de France; Andrew is young, and while it’s his first Tour de France, he is coming off a great season; and Dan Martin is having a breakout year with his wins in Catalunya and Liege-Baston-Liege. We will protect our best GC options and see how the race shakes out. Our approach is a little unconventional, but we’ve managed to come up with surprises every year at the Tour, and we’re hoping for the same as we head into Corsica.”
Farrar had a turbulent 2012 season. He crashed four times during the 2012 Tour de France, ruining his chance for success. Then in September, he suffered a concussion after crashing during the first stage of the Tour of Britain, and his 2012 season was over.
“(It took me) a little over a month (to get back on a bike),” Farrar told bicycling.com in an interview earlier this year. “The team has a protocol in place of getting through the immediate trauma, then gradually working your way back into cycling. It came at the end of the season, so I didn’t feel like I had to come back for anything. I didn’t rush the rules of coming back from a head injury, and that is probably a good thing.
“Then, once I got through the recovery part with my head and started training again, my whole overriding goal was just get back to my best, to sprint with the best again, to show that I’ve still got it. I’ve gone back to training as a sprinter should, getting on the track, doing some speed work. I’ve been healthy with no sickness, no crashes, and no life getting in the way.”
After regaining his health, he’s had a busy, productive 2013 season, participating in the Tour Down Under, Trofeo Palma, Frofeo Migjorn, Ruta del Sol, Tirreno-Adriatico and Tour de California, where he won the fourth stage.
“He’s been on the podium a lot (this year); he’s just had only one win. He’s been doing fine,” Ed Farrar said. “The (Tour de France) last year was a heartbreaker for him, having four crashes in the four sprint stages. That’s one of the things that will happen when you don’t have a lead-out; you don’t have the protection of following your guys.”
Ed Farrar said that he’s not sure what Tyler’s plans will be for the rest of the summer, adding that Tyler, who lives in Belgium, is returning to the United States this week.
“(Not participating in the Tour de France) is a change for sure, but I don’t think he has any races scheduled for July right now,” Ed Farrar said.