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Farrar celebrates July 4 with first Tour de France stage victory

Tyler Farrar crosses the finish line first for his team Garmin-Cervelo in Monday's 198-kilometer stage to Redon.
Tyler Farrar crosses the finish line first for his team Garmin-Cervelo in Monday's 198-kilometer stage to Redon.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Tyler Farrar wins his first stage in cycling's premier event, the third of the race's 21 overall
  • American's Garmin-Cervelo teammate Thor Hushovd retains the leader's yellow jersey
  • Norwegian loses intermediate sprint points after clashing with rival Mark Cavendish
  • British rider angry after he finishes in fifth place following sprint finish to the stage

(CNN) -- American cyclist Tyler Farrar celebrated his country's Independence Day by winning the third stage of the Tour de France, as teammate Thor Hushovd retained the leader's yellow jersey.

Farrar gave Garmin-Cervelo a second successive victory after Sunday's triumph in the team time-trial, as he came home ahead of France's Romain Feillu and Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil of Spain on Monday.

Hushovd was sixth in the 198-kilometer leg from Olonne-sur-Mer to Redon, keeping his overall lead from teammate David Millar of Britain after both finished in the same time in a mass sprint finish.

The Norwegian finished just behind pre-stage favorite Mark Cavendish after they clashed during the intermediate sprint, resulting in both riders being stripped of their points in that section.

Hushovd in yellow jersey after Garmin win team time-trial

It's been a dream since I was a child, and it's finally come true
--Tyler Farrar
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It was a blow to the Briton's hopes of winning the sprinters' green jersey for the first time but Hushovd insisted he was not aiming to claim it for a third occasion.

"I've been fighting for the green jersey for the last 10 years and it's hard for me to just sit back and watch as all my competitors go for the sprint, so I can't just be up there only following them. But, once again: the green jersey is not a goal for me in 2011," he said.

"The stage tomorrow is hard and the final is very difficult. I'm not sure I'll be able to keep the jersey but I'll do my best and follow the good moves and give everything I can to hang on and not lose any seconds.

"Every day that a rider spends in the yellow jersey of the Tour de France is a big achievement. It's good for the confidence and it gives me motivation."

Tour champion Contador deserves respect

Farrar dedicated his first individual stage victory in cycling's blue riband race to his friend Wouter Weylandt, who died after a crash in stage three of the Giro d'Italia in May.

"This one is for Wouter. It's been a big loss. It's been a rough few months for me since, but I wanted to be good here and try to do something to remember him, so I'm happy that was able to do it," the 27-year-old said.

"The team time trial was something special, a victory for the entire team but to win a sprint ... it's been a dream since I was a child, and it's finally come true.

"It's incredible for me -- I had the world champion who is wearing the maillot jaune leading out the sprint for me. It's not a common sight but when you have that happening you have to do a good sprint. And to win on the Fourth of July is just another sign of how well it's all come together today."

Gilbert wins opening stage as crash holds up Contador

Cavendish has won 15 stages at Le Tour for his team, now known as HTC-Highroad.

He was bemused by the loss of his sprint points, but even more angry with Vacansoleil's Fallu after falling back at the end of the stage.

"I was fighting with Rojas into the last corner and kamikaze Feillu came flying in," Cavendish told the UK Press Association.

"I thought I was going to crash, I thought I was coming down. I was 40 meters behind out the last corner with no speed whatsoever. I went full gas, I gained 40 meters and finished with the front four and I gained points -- it just shows my form."

The fourth of 21 stages is from Lorient to Mur-de-Bretagne on Tuesday.

Defending champion Alberto Contador is back in 69th overall, one minute and 42 seconds behind the leaders.