Garmin sprinter Tyler Farrar was celebrating on Sunday when he became the first American to win the Hamburg Cyclassics one-day classic.
The 25-year-old Farrar, who finished fifth out of the sprinters contesting the green jersey for the points classification at this year’s Tour de France, was the first home over the 216.4km course here around the north German city.
Denmark’s Matti Breschel, of the Saxo Bank team, finished second while local hope Gerald Ciolek of Milram came third.
Farrar lost out several times on sprint stages to Britain’s Mark Cavendish on both this year’s Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia, and said he was pleased to finally get a win under his belt.
“This season has already gone pretty well for me, although a big success had been missing, so this is really nice,” said the American. “After so many second places on the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France, it is a great feeling to finally stand on the top of the podium as a winner.”
Ciolek’s third place means the hosts will have to wait another year before hoping to see a local rider succeed Erik Zabel, the last German winner in 2001.
The peloton crosses the kohlbrand bridge:AFP/Getty Images
The race is usually decided by a bunch sprint and was missing a host of top fast men including Cavendish, defending champion Robbie McEwen and green jersey winner Thor Hushovd.
However, Spaniard Sergio de Lis and Ukrainian Yuriy Krivtsov were among those who tried to make sure the race was decided otherwise.
They escaped in the first 2km and went on to build a lead of over five minutes on the bunch but Garmin, and the Columbia team of on-form German Andre Greipel, soon took control of the chase which came to an end 48km from the finish.
The race’s only obstacle was the Waseberg, an ascent which was to be climbed three times in total – the last time 16km from the finish.
Switzerland’s Fabian Cancellara, Irishman Nicolas Roche, Sylvain Chavanel of France and Belgium’s Philippe Gilbert all tried at one time or another to distance their companions but the sprinters’ teams were giving no quarter.
Astana and the Quick Step team of Tom Boonen then helped ramp up the pace as the peloton arrived in the city centre, where Farrar put his emerging sprint prowess to good use to claim the biggest win of his career.
The American, who finished runner-up twice and third twice on sprint stages at the Tour de France, timed his final 200-metre drive to perfection to come over the line in triumph with room to spare.