Tyler Farrar won yesterday's Tour de France third stage in Brittany — giving the United States an Independence Day victory at Tour de France.
Farrar became the first American to win a stage on the Fourth of July, dominating a sprint finish as teammate Thor Hushovd of Norway kept the yellow jersey.
It was the first Tour stage victory for Farrar, one of the world's best sprinters, and showcased the dominance of the Garmin-Cervelo team over the past two days at cycling's greatest race.
The 198-kilometre flat route from Olonne-sur-Mer to Redon in western Brittany favoured sprinters like Farrar, Mark Cavendish of Britain, Italy's Alessandro Petacchi, Tom Boonen of Belgium and Hushovd.
"I certainly would have taken it on any day," Farrar said of the stage victory. "But as an American, winning on the Fourth of July, it's the icing on the cake ... Lucky me."
As he crossed the finish line, Farrar held up his hands to make out a "W" with his fingers to honour Wouter Weylandt, the Belgian who died in a crash during the Giro d'Italia in May.
Cavendish's HTC-Highroad team had lined up to escort the British speedster to the finish from near the 4km mark, but by the last few hundred metres Hushovd and Farrar had zoomed ahead.
"To have the world champion and yellow jersey work for you to launch the sprint, it's crazy," Farrar said of Hushovd.
At the finish, the American nosed ahead of France's Romain Feillu, who was second, and Jose Joaquin Rojas, of Spain, in third. Farrar and a pack of riders clocked the same time: 4hours 40mins 21secs.
With his victory, Farrar became the first American to win a Tour stage since Levi Leipheimer placed first in the individual time trial in Angouleme in 2007.
The top standings did not change: Hushovd retains a split-second edge over Garmin-Cervelo teammate David Millar, of Britain, while Australia's Cadel of BMC is third, one second back.
Spain's Alberto Contador, the defending champion, who lost time on Saturday after getting entangled in a crash, is 69th overall - 1:42 behind the Norwegian leader.
Among other hopefuls for victory on the Champs-Elysees on July 24, Andy Schleck, the 2010 runner-up from Luxembourg and the leader of Leopard-Trek, is eighth overall, four seconds behind Hushovd. The Norwegian world champion Hushovd took the leader's shirt after Garmin-Cervelo won the team time trial on Sunday.
Cavendish last night hit out at sprint rival Feillu for "kamikaze" tactics.
Cavendish - stripped of 10 points gained in yesterday's intermediate sprint for clashing with Hushovd, with the yellow jersey rider also punished - was fifth and later complained of being impeded by Feillu on the final corner.
The 26 year old from the Isle of Man said: "I was fighting with Rojas into the last corner and kamikaze Feillu came flying in.
"I thought I was going to crash. I thought I was coming down.
"I was 40 metres behind coming out of the last corner with no speed whatsoever.
"I went full gas. I gained 40m and finished with the front four and I gained points - it just shows my form."
Frank Schleck, the Leopard-Trek rider, was happy yesterday not to have developed an allergic reaction after being stung inside his mouth when he swallowed an insect during Sunday's stage two. He said before yesterday's stage that he initially "panicked" before remembering previous similar experiences that helped calm him down.
Today's fourth stage is a 172.5km ride from Lorient to Mur-de-Bretagne.