SPA (Belgium) (AFP) Lance Armstrongs white and yellow bike stands out from the rest of the super-slick red and grey Trek machines used by his RadioShack team. But on Monday the seven-time Tour de France champion had trouble finding his bike after being caught up in the numerous, and almost inexplicable, crashes that marred the second stage of the race in the hilly Belgian Ardennes. As Frenchman Sylvain Chavanel left the last remaining member of an earlier eight-man breakaway in his wake to go on and forge a deserved stage win, all hell broke loose behind him. Armstrong, yellow jersey contender Andy Schleck of Luxembourg and his brother Frank were among dozens of riders caught up in crashes that seemed to decimate the chasing peloton. The Schlecks were left to dig deep in a long chase to the yellow jersey peloton being led by their Saxo Bank teammate and race leader Fabian Cancellara, who upon hearing the news negotiated a pact of non-agression. The big Swiss riders decision meant he lost the yellow jersey, but he later claimed his move was to protect the survival chances of the races yellow jersey contenders. Its better to be fair than to be selfish, said Cancellara, who has now dropped to second overall at 2min 57sec behind Quick Steps Chavanel. Most riders and team managers were at a loss to explain why so many crashed on a route which has been part of the Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic for over 100 years come rain, wind or snow. Armstrong had his own version after picking up some nasty road rash on his hip and elbow. (It was as if) there was something on the road, we just couldnt stand on our bikes, he said. As we got up and started to keep going again, we just kept passing guys all the way down, so its a bit surreal. You know in the rain these guys are very good downhill, Im not one of them. But even the good ones, with something like that, no chance, absolutely no chance. I knew I was fine. My first thought was, 'where is my bike?. I tried to find my bike. Armstrongs teammate Chris Horner was perhaps the most outspoken rider of the day saying, bizarrely, that the stage should not have been included on the race and that the end-of-stage truce was all the organisers deserved. They put on a dangerous stage and so when they put it on like that thats the results theyll get, said Horner. They got all their drama on the descent and they lost it all at the finish and they got what they deserved. Theres no place in the Tour de France for a stage like this. Armstrong, however, seemed to side with the organisers. These hills around here and the Ardennes are legendary, its part of cycling. Liege-Bastogne-Liege has been around for a hundred years and they do that on the snow. We cant say that. Thats bad luck. For whatever reason the road was slippery and its by no means any fault of the organisers. Its just bad luck. Numerous spills also marred the first stage on Sunday but the peloton is facing more carnage in the third stage Tuesday which feature seven treacherous cobblestone sectors.