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Garmin Camp: Horse-Trading Begins?

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Velonation unearthed a juicy little nugget from the Norwegian press today regarding Thor Hushovd's program for 2011, where the World Champion vows to work for Tyler Farrar in pursuit of Tour de France sprint victories. Obviously much of the cycling world is convening training camps this week, or just finished one last week, as the meet-and-greet portion of the 2011 season gets underway. Nowhere does this process get more intriguing than over at Garmin-Cervelo, where two similarly constituted teams engaged in a merger have to decide who works for whom, when and where. The Green Jersey and sprint wins at the Tour could be a sticky wicket indeed, but Hushovd has started the process of ironing things out by candidly admitting that he doesn't have much chance at beating Mark Cavendish straight up in a sprint, so he plans to work for Tyler Farrar there.

This paints a pretty simple picture: Farrar goes for the stage win he needs for his sprinter's resume, and something of a prerequisite before he can start thinking of the Green Jersey. Hushovd, a two-time maillot vert winner, can focus on amassing points and see where that goes. Or can he? I suppose it depends on whether "working for Farrar" means actually performing leadouts, which is usually a good way to miss out on points entirely. It also depends on how the new stage points system plays out -- an impossibility to predict right now -- where a single intermediate sprint is worth 20 points. If riders are wary of sprinting twice in a day, you could see the always-game Hushovd cleaning up on intermediate points. This could have the effect of splitting the haul between him and Farrar... but it could also help Farrar immensely by pressuring Cavendish in the intermediate sprints, which could hinder him ever so slightly in the finale. Anyway, they'll wind up swapping pulls for each other throughout the season, and the World Champion will almost certainly get a clear shot at his biggest goals, starting with Paris-Roubaix. God, I can't wait for the season to begin...

One last Garmin note: got good eyes? Can you spot Sep Vanmarcke in this picture? This may or may not be a trick question; I'm fishing for evidence that he attended their camp, which would be a pretty good sign that he's on the team.