U.S.’s Farrar Wins Tour de France Stage on Independence Day

U.S.s Farrar Wins Tour de France Stage on Independence Day
Tyler Farrar, center, sprints as he crosses the finish line at the end of the 198 km and third stage of the 2011 Tour de France cycling race run between Olonne-sur-Mer and Redon in France. Photographer: Nathalie Magniez/AFP/Getty Images

Tyler Farrar of the Garmin-Cervelo team became the first American to win a stage of cycling’s Tour de France on Independence Day.

Farrar’s teammate Thor Hushovd of Norway kept the race-leading yellow jersey after stage three, a 123-mile (198-kilometer) ride on flat terrain between Olonne-sur-Mer and Redon near the west coast of France.

Farrar darted ahead with 150 meters left, after being led out to the front by Hushovd, and beat Romain Feillu of Vacansoleil and Jose Joaquin Rojas of Team Movistar by about a bike’s length.

“I’ve been chasing this for a long time, and the 4th of July makes it even better,” Farrar, 27, told Eurosport after his first Tour de France stage win.

Hushovd had taken the yellow jersey after Garmin-Cervelo won the team time trial yesterday. Teammate David Millar is next with the same time and two-time runner-up Cadel Evans of BMC Racing is a second further back.

Defending champion Alberto Contador remained 1 minute, 38 seconds behind Andy Schleck, last year’s runner-up. Contador lost the time in the first stage after he was held up by a crash, and in the team time trial.

Contador was acquitted by the Spanish cycling federation after testing positive for banned stimulant clenbuterol in winning last year’s Tour. The federation accepted his argument that the reading was down to contaminated meat.

Cycling’s ruling body, Union Cycliste Internationale, appealed the decision and the Lausanne, Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration for Sport will make a final decision after the race which ends July 24 in Paris.

Lead Over Peloton

Without competition for places among race favorites today, five riders opened up a lead over the peloton at the start. Two of the group, Jose-Ivan Gutierrez of Team Movistar and Francaise des Jeux’s Mickael Delage, broke away with 12 miles left before they were caught with 6 miles remaining.

Farrar made a ‘W’ sign with his hands as he crossed the line in an apparent dedication to Wouter Weylandt, his friend who was killed in a crash on a descent at the Giro d’Italia in May.

Tomorrow’s stage, which covers 107 miles between Lorient and Mur-de-Bretagne, is another mainly flat course.

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