BMC deflect Evans from crash carnage again

Defending champion Cadel Evans emerged unscathed, and happy for it, after a second successive day of crash carnage at the Tour de France Wednesday.

A day after the first crash-hit day when several riders suffered cuts and bruises and three riders abandoned due to their injuries a multiple rider pile-up took down several riders 2.5 km from the finish.

Germany's Andre Greipel escaped the spill to go on and register his first win of this year's race as sprint rival Mark Cavendish (Sky) was caught up in the melee.

Evans, whose team have been seen at the front of the peloton on a regular basis -- a ploy designed to keep the Australian out of harm's way -- was one of only two BMC men along with Marcus Burghardt not delayed by the crash.

He went on to finish 27th and in the same time as British yellow jersey rival Bradley Wiggins (Sky) to remain seventh overall, 17sec off the lead of Fabian Cancellara and 10sec behind second placed Wiggins.

One BMC rider caught up in the crash was American Tejay Van Garderen, who still wears the white jersey for the best placed rider aged 25 and under.

"You don't really have time to think," said Van Garderen.

"You're just holding your brakes and trying to stay balanced. I was lucky I didn't go down and that it was inside three kilometres, so we got the same time."

Race rules dictate that any riders involved in incidents inside the often hectic last three kilometres of the stage are given the same time as the finishers.

Burghardt meanwhile said BMC designed their Tour team, which is full of one-day classics specialists, specifically to protect Evans on the flat stages that seem to pose the most danger.

"We saw last year it was really important to have the classics guys, especially in the first week," he said.

"You have a lot of crashes and you can have some crosswinds, so you must be prepared. I'm not sure if you can do that with a team of just climbers."

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