Mark Cavendish was again denied a bunch sprint win in the Vuelta a Espana today when Tyler Farrar beat him for fifth stage into Lorca.
As was the case when Yauheni Hutarovich won on stage two in Marbella on Sunday, Cavendish was leading the gallop when he was overtaken in the closing 50m.
For Garmin-Transitions rider Farrar the victory over Cavendish will be something to cherish. Although he’s been second to the HTC-Columbia rider on numerous occasions, the last time he beat the Manxman in a sprint for a stage win was at Tirreno-Adriatico in March 2009.
“It’s a surprise for me,” admitted Farrar of his victory. “I was ill yesterday.”
Farrar’s second ever Vuelta stage victory came at the end of another sweltering stage across the south of Spain. After the day’s main four man break -comprising Pierre Rolland (Bbox Bouygues Telecom), Jose Vicente Toribio (Andalucia CajaSur), Arnaud Labbe (Cofidis) and David Gutierrez ( Footon-Servetto)- got swept up in the last ten miles, all looked good for a Cavendish victory.
HTC Columbia had been prominent in helping bringing back the move but, as the race entered the streets of Lorca, it was Alessandro Petacchi ‘s Lampre team who were leading the charge.
Into the final kilometre Cavendish appeared unusually isolated, a little further back than usual and without an HTC team mate near him. Perhaps he was practicing for the World Championships in Melbourne next month where he’ll have just two British team mates at his disposal.
Initially Cavendish appeared to have coped with the situation well, leaping out of the pack to open the sprint down the right hand side. The problem was he’d gone too early and didn’t quite have the legs to sustain his lead.
Realising Farrar was coming past him, Cavendish sat up slightly, allowing Euskaltel’s Koldo Fernandez to push him back into third.
Belgium’s Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) retains the lead overall.
Vuelta a Espana 2010, stage five: Guadix to Lorca, 198.8km
1. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Transitions 198km in 5-03-36
2. Koldo Fernandez De Larrea (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
3. Mark Cavendish (GB) HTC-Columbia
4. Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Quick Step
5. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini
6. Sebastien Chavanel (Fra) Francaise des Jeux
7. Robert Forster (Ger) Milram
8. Denis Galimzyanov (Rus) Katusha
9. Theo Bos (Ned) Cervélo
10. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto all same time
Overall classification after stage five
1. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto in 13-56-30
2. Igor Anton (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 10sec
3. Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha at 10sec
4. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas at 12sec
5. Peter Velits (Svk) HTC-Columbia at 16sec
6. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) HTC-Columbia at 29sec
7. Xavier Tondo (Spa) Cervélo at 49sec
8. Frank Schleck (Lux) Saxo Bank at 50sec
9. Ruben Plaza (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne at 54sec
10. Ezequiel Mosquera (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia at 55sec
Stage five scenery
Tyler Farrar out-paced his rivals to take the win
Philippe Gibert keeps overall lead
Vuelta a Espana 2010: Related links
Anton wins stage but Gilbert keeps red jersey
Stage four photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage three: Gilbert attacks to win stage and take race lead
Stage two: Hutarovich beats Cavendish to Vuelta stage win
Vuelta stage one: Cavendish leads after HTC-Columbia win team time trial
The British riders to have led one of the grand tours
Vuelta a Espana 2010: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index