A press release from the Garmin-Slipstream team this afternoon — just hours after a bloody and chaotic second stage of the Tour de France — has the latest word on Wenatchee's Tyler Farrar and his comerades:
"All nine Team Garmin-Transitions riders completed today’s stage, demonstrating courage and commitment to their team, the sport, and the Tour de France. Eight riders will take the start tomorrow, with the exception of team leader Christian Vande Velde."
That means that Farrar is in — even with a sprained left elbow, a fractured left wrist and a series of other nasty scrapes. (Vande Velde suffered a left eyelid laceration requiring multiple stitches, along with two broken ribs.) In Farrar's own words:
"One minute I was riding down the descent and the next minute I was sliding. That was the first crash. I got back up and started descending again and I have no idea what happened; all of the sudden my front wheel was gone and I was on the ground again. That’s the one where I knew something was very wrong. I rode the last 30k with one hand. I laid my left hand on the handlebars but that’s all I could do. I have a fracture in my wrist and banged up my elbow pretty badly. No one wants to quit the Tour de France, so you’ll push yourself a lot more through the pain than you will in any other bike race in the world. I’m determined to start tomorrow and as of this moment, that’s the plan."
He'll need more than one arm to take on Cavendish in the sprints to come.
Farrar will apparently also need some more Flemish lessons to get himself out of trouble with the European press. After yesterday's stage, in which French AG2R rider Lloyd Mondory crashed his bike into Farrar's in the final stretch, VeloNews reports that Farrar used an ethnic slur when commenting in Flemish to a Flemish reporter. He referred to Mondory with the word "kikker," which means "frog" — a derogatory term for the French.
“I like to pride myself on speaking a few different languages, and trying to give interviews in the language it’s asked,” Farrar said. “I guess my Flemish isn’t quite as good as I would like it to be sometimes. I used an idiomatic expression, repeating a phrase some of my friends use. I meant to imply that Mondory was riding dangerously, in the sense of jumping around and being erratic. Unfortunately it can also mean frog, and the fact he’s French … I feel like an idiot about it. That’s not at all what I meant to say.”
All in all, just a terrible 24 hours for Mr. Farrar. Let's hope tomorrow's "Hell of the North" isn't as bad as everyone's predicting.