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Vaitkus out after thumb surgery

Discovery Channel's Tomas Vaitkus will not start today's Stage 3, after sustaining five unstable fractures of the right thumb in yesterday's end-of-stage pileup. The Lithuanian underwent an overnight operation Monday at a hospital in Waregem, with doctors inserting a plate into his thumb.

"This is a huge disappointment for Thomas," Discovery sports director Dirk de Mol told Sports Wereld. "He was so happy to be riding the Tour for the first time, and was therefore very motivated."

A riders entered the closing kilometres of yesterday's Stage 2, the bunch swerved to the right, causing a Milram rider to clip the wheel of another rider. Contact within the sprint-ready peloton caused a domino effect, with riders blocking the entire road as they hit the deck. Yellow jersey holder Fabian Cancellara (Team CSC) was amongst those caught in the anarchy, as was star sprinter Thor Hushovd (Crédit Agricole) and American Freddie Rodriguez (Predictor-Lotto).

Other riders involved in the crash, included American George Hincapie (Discovery Channel), who hurt his left knee but is able to start tomorrow, Italian Daniel Bennati (Lampre-Fondital) was taken to hospital with suspected broken ribs, but will start today's stage after X-rays cleared the rider of any broken bones.

Rodriguez's Predictor Lotto teammate Leif Hoste was also caught in the crumble, both riders have also been cleared by doctors to start today's stage. Rodriguez sustained two deep cut to his left elbow, which required stitches, as well as grazes on his lower body. Belgian Hoste was taken to hospital with an injury to his right knee, which has been cleared as the meniscus was not hit. A decision on Hoste's continued participation in the race will be made later today.

Cancellara had crossed the line nursing his arm, causing rumours to circulate that he had broken his collar bone, but has since revealed it was the shock of the crash that made him think he'd sustained an injury. "After I finished the stage and got some dry clothes on and got warm, I felt fine again," he said.

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