Farrar conquers sprint paradise in Santa Barbara

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Tyler Farrar made it two wins in 24 hours for Garmin-Sharp, making the best of the sprint finish on Stage 4 of the Amgen Tour of California in beautiful Santa Barbara, to claim his first his first victory since August.

The American came off a perfect lead-out from his Argyle team, launching with 300 metres to go and never looked likely to be overcome. Optum rider Ken Hanson followed Farrar's wheel in for second, while Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) was third.

Wins have been few and far between for Farrar since 2011, making today's victory, which followed team-mate Ramunas Navardauskas's solo success at the Giro, all the sweeter.

RadioShack-Leopard did its best to splinter the peloton some 13km from home, lining the bunch out single file before the climb up Foothill road. Jens Voigt launched a speculative move solo, but was quickly marked and fell back into the fold.

Peter Sagan's Cannondale team lacked the organisation of Wednesday, and it was Garmin and Orica-GreenEDGE that appeared hungriest to ramp things up for the sprint finale.

The straight, flat, avenue finish couldn't have been a better setting for a sprint and the speeds were touching 70km/h even before the big men to came out to play.

Farrar judging his effort perfectly to win by a bike length over Hanson, and three bike lengths to Meersman.

Earlier in the day a break of six rider snuck away from the peloton after 15km of racing.
 
Frank Pipp (Bissell), Chad Beyer (Champion System), Nathan Brown (Bontrager-Livestrong), James Stemper (5 Hour Energy), Chris Baldwin (Bissell), and Marsh Cooper (Optum) were there and built an advantage of three minutes before there was much reaction.

Kept on a tight leash with Baldwin, 15th overall in the break, the sextet was caught with 20km to go, and the race then prepared for a bunch dash.

The overall contenders enjoyed a relative day off, with Stage 6's undulating time trial in San Jose the next big challenge. Janier Acevedo (Jamis) retains the overall lead from Tejay van Garderen (BMC) and Philippe Deignan (UnitedHealthcare).

Australians Michael Rogers (Saxo-Tinkoff) and Cameron Meyer remain well-placed inside the top-10.

Stage 5 of the Amgen Tour of California takes the peloton north toward the iconic Avila Beach, a 186km run that is expected to end in a sprint.



Stage 4: 134.6km, Santa Clarita-Santa Barbara
1 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp 3hr 14min 09sec
2 Ken Hanson (USA) Optum
3 Gianni Meersman (BEL) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
4 Kristoff Boeckmans (BEL) Vacansoleil-DCM
5 Peter Sagan (SVK) Cannondale
6 Michael Matthews (AUS) Orica-GreenEDGE
7 Thor Hushovd (NOR) BMC
8 Sylvain Chavanel (FRA) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
9 Jeremy Vennell (NZL) Bissell
10 Jan Stuyven (BEL) Bontrager-Livestrong

General classification
1 Janier Acevedo (COL) Jamis-Hagens Berman 17hr 13min 59sec   
2 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC 0:00:12   
3 Philip Deignan (IRL) UnitedHealthcare 0:00:27   
4 Michael Rogers (AUS) Saxo-Tinkoff 0:00:55   
5 Francisco Mancebo Perez (ESP) 5 Hour Energy/Kenda 0:01:03   
6 Chad Haga (USA) Optum/Kelly Benefit Strategies 0:01:13   
7 Matthew Busche (USA) RadioShack Leopard 0:01:15   
8 Lawson Craddock (USA) Bontrager 0:01:32   
9 Cameron Meyer (AUS) Orica-GreenEDGE 0:01:40   
10 Marc De Maar (AHo) UnitedHealthcare 0:01:56

SBS TWO has live coverage of each and every stage of the Amgen Tour of California live from 0700 AEST, and online here at Cycling Central.

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