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This Week: Major League Baseball hits All-Star break
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This isn’t your run-of-the-mill week in sports.

Do the Braves play? Yes, as do the G-Braves, Gainesville A’s and Gainesville Travelers.

It’s what’s happening around those four entities that will make this week in sports one of the best the summer has to offer.

After taking Monday off, a day of rest much needed after three-straight days of high-mountain climbs, cycling’s greatest race commences Tuesday.

Stages 10-15 of the Tour de France will run Tuesday through Sunday, taking the riders from Limoges, France to Verbier, Switzerland.

Lance Armstrong, Alberto Contador and company will travel approximately 748.44 miles this week, in the meantime setting up the final week of the Tour.

Currently, Rinaldo Nocintini dons the yellow jersey as the rider in first place overall with Armstrong, who is making a comeback after four years away from the sport, in third place; 8 seconds off the lead.

The midsummer classic out of St. Louis is also on tap this week with the Home Run Derby happening Monday night and the All-Star Game being played Tuesday night.

In the Home Run Derby, the National League will send Prince Fielder, Ryan Howard, Albert Pujols and Adrian Gonzalez to the plate while Joe Mauer, Brandon Inge, and Nelson Cruz will represent the American League.

Pujols currently leads the league in home runs with 31 and won the Derby in 2003. Howard, who has 20 home runs so far this season is the only other former winner — he won in 2006 — competing for the National League. Fielder, who has 22 home runs thus far is competing for the second time and Adrian Gonzalez, who has 24 home runs, is making his debut.

For those needing local flair to be interested in the All-Star game, the Braves’ own Brian McCann will make his fourth-straight appearance, joining the game’s stars Tuesday in a reserve role for the National League.

The Gwinnett Braves are sending Wes Timmons, Barbaro Canizares and Luis Valdez to the Triple-A All-Star game will also be played this week. The boys sitting just shy of Major League baseball will take to the diamond Wednesday in Portland, Ore.

The regular season will resume in the latter part of the week for both the Braves and the G-Braves.

Atlanta will jump right back into things taking on the New York Mets, who are currently sitting in fourth place in the NL East standings, in a four-game series beginning Thursday.

As if extra drama needed to be added to this division rivalry, it will be the first time Ryan Church and Jeff Francoeur face their former teams after Saturday’s trade.

The G-Braves begin a four-game series with the Yankees Triple-A team, Scranton-Wilkes Barre on Thursday. Scraton is the top team in the North Division while Gwinnett is sitting in third place, 3.5 games out of first, in the South Division.

If the all-star caliber competition in both cycling and baseball aren’t enough, golf’s third major of the season begins Thursday in Turnberry, Scotland.

The British Open’s usual cast of characters, including Tiger Woods who won the Open in 2000, 2005 and 2006, Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh will take to the course in an attempt to dethrone Padraig Harrington, the Open’s 2008 winner.

As an interesting side, despite having not won a major yet this season, Woods has won each of the tournaments played two weeks prior to the majors.

He won the Arnold Palmer Invitational two weeks before the Masters, the Memorial Tournament two weeks before the U.S. Open and won the AT&T Classic held two weeks before the start of this week’s British Open.

The WNBA’s Atlanta Dream, led by former Tennessee great Chamique Holdsclaw who is averaging 14.2 points per game, have three games this week, all of which are on the road. The Dream (6-7 and sitting in 5th place in the WNBA East) travel to Minnesota, Indiana and New York.

In local sports, the Gainesville A’s and Gainesville Travelers will each have their fair share of games this week, combining for seven and a tournament.

The A’s will travel to Canton today, but return home to take on Rockdale and Loganville on Wednesday and Friday before going on the road again for the Douglasville Tournament which begins Saturday.

The Travelers play the Athens Pirates in Athens on Tuesday and return home for three straight games against the Augusta Nationals being played on Wednesday followed by a doubleheader on Saturday.

The A’s play at Ivey-Watson Field in Gainesville while the Travelers call the Hog Mountain Sports Complex in Flowery Branch home.

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