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Stage 2 reactions

Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana): The Kazakh GC favourite was fortunate enough to avoid the late stage crash, and came across the line blessing himself. A relieved Vinokourov said, "It's always the same stress in the peloton. And the rain didn't help us at all. I hope it will be better these next days. I'm lucky not to have been involved in the massive fall just before the finish line. But I had to brake very hard."

Francisco Ventoso (Saunier-Duval): The team of the red bird's sprinter hasn't had much luck these past two days. In stage one, he was about to start his sprint when Robbie McEwen brushed past, and today he fell victim to the wreck at the two kilometre mark. "I just couldn't avoid the crash. I tried to brake, but there was nowhere I could ride through. And even if I'd managed to stay on my bike, I would've been caught by those coming behind. I was feeling good and confident, well-placed, but this is what you expect of this kind of finales. I fell on my bike, and I think most of my injuries came from hitting it. I've injured my knee and my elbow, and my hand hurts badly, I can't rest it on a table. But I'm really worried about my hip. I hope it's nothing serious, but I can tell I'm having a hard time walking."

Eusebio Unzúe (Caisse d'Epargne manager):"We knew that the stage would be a very difficult one because of the wind and the rain. In the final there was also the tension provoked by the preparation of the sprint and there was a spectacular crash. For us, fortunately, the day was not so bad. As for now, our main goal is to avoid the crashes and to avoid losing time. The day was ok for us, except for Xabier Zandio who finished the stage with a very painful wrist as a consequence of his crash of yesterday. This evening we will go to the hospital so that he makes a radiography, hoping that nothing is broken and that he can go on with tranquility."

Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne): "The public was incredible here on the Belgian roads and it was something very beautiful, but at the same time very dangerous because sometimes the people were standing in the middle of the road. It was the typical Belgian stage, with a lot of wind, that requires being very cautious, but at the end everything was ok for us. What is very dangerous in such a stage is that a crash or a break can always cause you lose plenty of time, but we were lucky and arrived in good conditions in Gent."

Michael Rogers (T-Mobile): "The first week of the Tour is always a mine-field. It is really dangerous in the hurly-burly of the bunch sprints - it just takes a clip of wheels and half the peloton can come crashing down like dominoes," said the Aussie in his diary on "You hope it won't happen, but it does and unfortunately Mark was one of the worst affected in today's pile-up. I was lucky not to get caught up in the chaos - though I did get stuck behind it, where I had to wait for the road to clear before crossing the line. As the pile-up was with the final 3 km mark, the jury gave us all the winner's time. It's the least they could do!"

Kim Kirchen (T-Mobile): "The stage was pretty windy and the bunch stayed together. It was a pretty hard final again and very dangerous. Everyone has good legs and wants to ride in the front."

Robbie McEwen (Predictor-Lotto): "I just missed that big crash and I think a couple of my teammates went straight into it. After that I was just too far back in the line and couldn't move up. I didn't feel that good. I seem to have pain all over but the wrist wasn't too bad. It was actually my right knee that caused the most pain. At the end, when it should have been safe, that was when the huge crash happened. I caught a bike on my arm, I somehow got through on the left but I was a long, long way back. Both my knees are hurting and I feel like I'm sitting sideways on the bike. That's putting pressure on my left knee. I didn't feel real good all day. Still, I tried and hopefully I can keep improving over the next few days."

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