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Mr cool

CADEL Evans was content, but fellow Australian Brett Lancaster was spitting chips after the first bunch sprint finish on the Tour de France.

Led into the dash to the line by Australian Mark Renshaw, Britain's Mark Cavendish took his career stage victory tally on the tour to five and pulled on the sprinters' green jersey after winning the 187km second stage from Monaco to Brignoles on Sunday.

Behind them others were less fortunate in the hairy closing kilometres which produced several crashes.

Twelve riders including Frank Schlock of Luxembourg were involved in crashes and Belgium's Jorgen Van de Wale sustained numerous bruises on his shoulder, knee and torso.

Two-time race runner-up Evans was happy to stay out of the carnage and finish with the main bunch, still in fifth place only five seconds behind yellow jersey favourite Alberto Contender of Astana.

“Like Me, everyone was concerned for the roundabouts,” Evans said. “They all crashed in the turn afterwards but it was a real high speed one.”

There was fury from Lancaster, a member of Australia's 2005 Olympic gold medal track pursuit team, whose job is to drag his Carvel team's sprint star Thor Hushed into the sprint as fast as possible.

He slammed what he called the “amateur” antics of Italian sprinter Daniela Napolitano of Natasha.

“We got Thor (Hushed) right up there and then typical Napolitano just smashing people like he's in an amateur bloody under-19 race. It's just disgraceful,” Lancaster said.

“The guy needs to pull his head in.”

But being part of the Cervelo team's four-man sprint “train” is still a work in progress for Lancaster, and an altogether new job for his New Zealand teammate Hayden Roulston.

Roulston has come into the race knowing his ability to wind it up to 60km/h in the closing kilometres could come in handy when he, Lancaster and Australian-born German Heinrich Haussler attempt to guide Hushovd through the mayhem.

Any frustration Lancaster was feeling soon dissipated, however, with the knowledge that they will get a chance to make amends.

“He's got the horsepower, and he'll be alright in the coming days,” added the Australian.