Blazin' Saddles

Farrar doubles Greipel’s pain

Blazin' Saddles

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With the sun coming out for the first time in this Giro, you'd have thought the scene was set for another Australian win. Instead, the spoils went to American Tyler Farrar, displaying perfect 20-20 vision to take his second stage of the race.

Of course, wearing those special Transitions adaptive lenses, the Garmin hotshot had a clear advantage over the rest of the field as the sun dipped in and out of the clouds in southern Italy.

The finish was in Bitonto, the City of Olives, where Farrar put in a true Popeye performance as HTC-Columbia's Andre Greipel was yet again reduced to the role of Bluto, huffing and puffing his big frame over the line, well out of sight.

But Farrar's victory doesn't simply come down to superior glasses; his spinach body booster comes in the shape of his team, who are showing their mettle in Italy despite the early departure of leader Christian Vande Velde.

On Tuesday it was the indefatigable David Millar that launched Farrar's sprint before the powerful Julian Dean took the reins and slingshot Farrar to the line, taking third place himself in the process.

Compare this to the usually indomitable Columbia train, whose components have now resorted - a la Goss - to going for solo victories seeing that their talismanic driver Greipel is so off the boil.

Earlier in the day we were treated to the rare sight of a British team (Sky) chasing down a British rider, Lotto's Charly Wegelius, who had found himself in a break of three riders swept up with around 15km to spare.

The Finnish-born rider has never won a race before in his career. He is also one of the most frequently tested cyclists around, if you believe his consistent grumblings on Twitter. Makes you think: the fight against doping must be really serious if Wegelius is a top target.

All in all, it has to be said that stage 10 was a largely uneventful, even insipid, affair - probably because it came ahead of Wednesday's hilly stage to Aquila, the longest and one of the hardest in this year's race so far.

The main drama came not from anything involving two wheels, but from an over zealous spectator falling from a high viewing point into a ditch at the finish.

The incident happened when the bunch was 15km from Oliveville, but the emergency was dealt with and the injured man presumably packed off to hospital before Farrar blitzed home. If the spectator was a Greipel fan, then he didn't miss much.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I'm feeling better and more optimistic about the rest of this Giro," says Carlos Sastre as he plots how to claw back the 10 minutes he needs to take the pink jersey.

Follow Blazin' Saddles throughout the Giro on www.twitter.com/saddleblaze.

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