Advantage Farrar, Boonen as Cavendish falls sick
TRIBUNE NEWS NETWORK
DOHA TYLER Farrar will be the man to watch as the American leads the Garmin-Barracuda in the Tour of Qatar, starting on Sunday with a 142.5-km stage from the Barzan Towers to Doha Golf Club.
With world champion Mark Cavendish of Sky Procycling being down with fever and another ace sprinter Andre Griepel withdrawing due to illness, the focus has suddenly shifted on 27-year-old Farrar, who had won a stage and the team time trial in the Tour de France last year.
Cavendish, reported to be using the world champion’s rainbow jersey through the season, did not have training today and preferred to rest in his room, with his team praying for miraculous recovery in a bid to make his debut.
Cavendish later in the day wrote on Twitter about his health: “13 hrs of sweat-drenched sleep hasn’t shifted a fever that started on the plane over here. Really not feeling well today. Can’t leave my bed.” Cavendish had a nasty crash last year in the prologue when the front wheel collapsed and caused him injuries in his face. He could not recover from the fall and his former lead-out man Mark Reneshaw, now racing for Rabo Bank, went on to win the race. In case he doesn’t get well, he may not begin at all tomorrow.
Then he will hope to get better and launch himself in the next stop over in Oman.
Lotto-Bellisol’s Griepel was expected to join the team a couple of days ago. But due to getting stomach problems and flue, the German pulled himself out of the seasonopening race.
Other cyclists to fancy their chances may be three-time winner Tom Boonen of Omega Pharma Quick Step, Katusha Team’s Denis Galimzyanov, Project 1T41’s John Degenkolb, Peter Sagan of Liquigas- Cannondale, world youth champion Amaud Demare of FDJ – Bigmat and GreenEDGE’s Robbie McEwen.
Filippo Pozzato of Farnese Vini Selle Italia, Fabian Cacnellara of Radio Shack – Nissan, Phiilippe Gilbert and Thor Hushovd, both of BMC Racing, would also spare no efforts in their bid to win the stages.