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Vaughters gets another email from John Kerry

Updated: July 04, 2011, 16:23


Cadel Evans of Australia, wearing the best climber's dotted jersey, arrives to take the start of the third stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 198 kilometers (123 miles) starting in Olonne sur Mer, Vendee region, and finishing in Redon, Brittany, western France, Monday July 4, 2011. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)

REDON, France (AP) Jonathan Vaughters received another email from his good friend Sen. John Kerry, who was congratulating the manager of the Garmin-Cervelo team for a stage win at the Tour de France.

"Kerry's a massive cycling fan,'' Vaughters told The Associated Press on Monday. "He's got a (Garmin-Cervelo) jersey and shorts, he always rides in it.''

Vaughters showed the AP an email he had received from the Massachusetts senator after Sunday's victory in the team time trial, adding that he got "another congratulatory note'' on Monday after American sprinter Tyler Farrar had won the third stage.

Vaughters said he received the following note from Kerry on Sunday after stage 2:

"Congratulations on a terrific showing today. It was really fun to watch you guys set pace, focused and disciplined and to listen to your exhortations. Hope to get over, maybe towards the end (of the Tour). All the best, John Kerry.''

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EVANS FEARS THIN ROADS: Cadel Evans is worried that the roads at the Tour de France are getting a bit too thin and dangerous.

The two-time Tour runner-up was in third place overall after Monday's third stage, but he was concerned about the lacy bends near the end of the route from Olonne-sur-Mer to Redon.

"It was a nervous, dangerous stage with a fair bit of wind in the final,'' Evans said. "It seems they use more and more narrow roads in the Tour. It's great for excitement but puts the risk rating up a bit high.''

The Australian, who was the Tour runner-up in 2007 and '08, thanked veteran teammate George Hincapie for keeping him safe on the roads.

"Fortunately, George and Marcus (Burghardt) kept me in front most of the time.''

The 34-year-old Evans will get a chance to test his climbing legs in Tuesday's fourth stage, which he should relish as it features a final climb with an average gradient of 6.9 percent and some sections at 15 percent.

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AMERICAN RIDERS: Ten American riders celebrated Independence Day on the roads of the Tour de France. It is the most American riders in the race in 25 years.

Veterans like BMC's George Hincapie and RadioShack's Chris Horner were among the U.S. riders taking stock of the bumper crop from America this year - and looking to some promising young compatriot competitors.

"Ten Americans at the Tour de France just shows you how much the sport has grown in the U.S.,'' said Hincapie, riding in his 16th Tour. "You know people are really starting to realize what a grueling sport this is, and starting to respect it.''

Tyler Farrar, among the world's best sprinters, became the first American rider to win a Tour stage on July 4 when he won Monday's third stage.

In 1986, 10 American cyclists competed on two teams. This year, there are four U.S. teams: RadioShack, BMC, Garmin-Cervelo and HTC-Highroad.

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GOING GREEN: Mark Cavendish was disqualified from an intermediate sprint during Monday's third stage of the Tour, dealing a blow to his hopes of winning the green jersey as the best sprinter in the race.

The HTC-Highroad cyclist from the Isle of Man crossed the intermediate sprint line in sixth place during a stage tailor-made for sprinters, but race officials ruled he shouldn't have used his head to push Thor Hushovd, who had deviated from his line.

Hushovd, who currently leads the race, was also disqualified from the sprint.

"Just discovered Thor & I have been disqualified from the intermediate sprint today. Seriously no idea why?'' Cavendish said on Twitter.

The powerfully built Norwegian then offered to take the punishment himself, according to Cavendish.

"What a true gentleman,'' Cavendish said.

Cavendish then missed the final sprint, finishing fifth behind stage winner Tyler Farrar of the United States in the 198-kilometer ride from Olonne-sur-Mer to Redon.

Cavendish is ninth in the race for the green jersey, 38 points behind leader Jose Joaquin Rojas of Spain.

"Some people will write me off as they always do, some people will write my team off as they always do. But it would take a very uneducated person to do that right now,'' Cavendish said of his green jersey hopes.

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Associated Press writers Jamey Keaten and Samuel Petrequin contributed to this report.

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