Tyler Farrar won today's Tour de France third stage in Brittany - giving the United States an Independence Day victory.
Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) was favourite to add to his 15 Tour stage wins in three years on the 198-kilometre third stage from Olonne-sur-Mer to Redon.
But Farrar (Garmin-Cervelo) took the 2011 Tour's first mass finish after being led out by race leader Thor Hushovd, with Romain Feillu (Vacansoleil) second and Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar) third.
It was an emotional success for Farrar after the death of his friend Wouter Weylandt during the Giro d'Italia in May.
The result also meant the American has now won stages in all three Grand Tours.
Cavendish, who was fifth, will have further opportunities this week and on Friday returns to the scene of his first Tour stage success in 2008 in Chateauroux.
The day's five-man breakaway, which began after 1km, featured French duo Mickael Delage (FDJ), Maxime Boudet (Ag2r La Mondiale), Spanish pair Ruben Perez Moreno (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Jose Ivan Gutierrez (Movistar) and Nicki Terpstra (QuickStep) of Holland.
The quintet established a lead of more than eight minutes after 70km, but the sprinters' teams kept the peloton within striking distance thereafter.
Delage took maximum points at the intermediate sprint ahead of his fellow escapees, but the race for the points classification's green jersey gathered pace when the peloton approached.
Cavendish led the bunch over after brushing shoulders with yellow jersey rider Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) to take 10 points.
The escapees' lead had tumbled to little more than a minute at the day's only categorised climb, the category four ascent of the Saint-Nazaire bridge.
Delage and Gutierrez accelerated away from their breakaway rivals at 20km away but were absorbed by the peloton with 9km remaining.
The sprinters' squads then battled for position in preparation for a technical and frantic finale into Redon.
HTC-Highroad were to the fore, but so too were Lampre-ISD, riding for last year's maillot vert Alessandro Pettachi, and Hushovd and Farrar's Garmin-Cervelo squad.
A tight left-hand corner in the final kilometre caused trouble, but not for Garmin-Cervelo.
With Cavendish trailing, Hushovd delivered Farrar to victory.
The top of the general classification rankings were unchanged, with Hushovd retaining the yellow jersey ahead of team-mate David Millar.Reuse content