American Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream) outkicked the world's best sprinters in Stage Three of Tirreno-Adriatico today, winning ahead of none other than Mark Cavendish (Columbia) and Enrico Rossi (Ceramica-Flaminia).
The day saw a breakaway go early involving Farrar's teammate William Frischkorn, Yuriy Krivtsov (AG2R La Mondiale), and Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil), but never gained more than a few minutes on the peloton over the rolling but not mountainous terrain of Stage Three.
Being caught 10 kilometers from the line, the sprint teams jostled for position in a fight for the line. It looked to be eerily reminiscent of a normal sprint fight, with teams Columbia, Cervelo, QuickStep, and LPR, fighting for their men Cavendish, Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen, and Alessandro Petacchi, respectively.
However, through the mix, Tyler Farrar was able to squeeze himself into the sprint trains, thanks to help from fellow sprinter teammate Julian Dean, and was looking ready to pounce.
In a dash for the line, it looked like Mark Cavendish would take the stage like so many stages he has conquered before, but with 200 meters to go, Farrar did what few others have done and came around Cavendish to take the win ahead of him. Sprint favorites Tom Boonen (QuickStep) and Robbie McEwen (Katusha) came in fourth and fifth.
A big win for Farrar comes ahead of three tough days in Italy, featuring two mountainous days and a time trial that will no doubt shake up the classification, which Julien El Farez (Cofidis) continues to hold after his breakaway win on the first stage.