- - Monday, July 4, 2011

CYCLING

American Farrar claims victory in third stage

REDON, France — Two months ago, Tyler Farrar was demoralized, sleeping 20 hours a day. He had even stopped riding, overcome by sorrow after his best friend died in a crash at the Giro d’Italia.

On Monday, Farrar became the first American to win a stage of the Tour de France on the Fourth of July. It was the first time he had won stage in cycling’s showcase race, and he dedicated the victory to the late Wouter Weylandt of Belgium.

Farrar, a sprint specialist from Wenatchee, Wash., who rides for the Garmin-Cervelo, sped ahead in the last few hundred yards of the 123-mile course from Olonne-sur-Mer to Redon to win the third stage. He has won a stage in each of cycling’s three-week major tours - France, Italy and Spain.

BASEBALL

Pujols could return to Cardinals on Tuesday

ST. LOUIS — Albert Pujols could be back in the St. Louis Cardinals’ lineup as early as Tuesday night, beating the initial timetable for his return from a broken left wrist by a month.

After taking indoor batting practice and fielding grounders outside Monday, Pujols said he was pain free.

Tuesday is the first day Pujols is eligible to return from the 15-day disabled list. He broke the wrist in a collision at first base trying to make a tag with his glove hand of the Royals’ Wilson Betemit on June 19.

The team initially believed the three-time NL MVP would be out six weeks.

Clemens’ perjury trial set to begin Wednesday

Roger Clemens’ tenacious pursuit of victory on the pitcher’s mound is re-emerging as he enters federal court this week to fight charges he lied about using drugs and ruthlessly tried to discredit the former friend who says he did.

Clemens is charged with perjury, false statements and obstruction of Congress for telling a House committee under oath that he never used performance-enhancing drugs during his 23-season career. The pitcher who once seemed a sure bet for baseball’s Hall of Fame now could face prison if 12 jurors agree that he lied.

The trial of the United States vs. William R. Clemens is scheduled to begin Wednesday and last four to six weeks.

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