Combative Van Summeren reflects on big day out

Belgian was realistic about stage 11 chances

Johan Van Summeren (Silence-Lotto) received the daily combativity prize as reward for his day-long escape with Lampre-NGC rider, Marcin Sapa, in the Tour de France's stage 11, on Wednesday.

The Belgian said his attack, 24km into the stage from Vatan to Saint-Fargeau, had been premeditated.

"The team was not in a good mood, I had the impression that some were growing nervous," said Van Summeren on his team's website. "Today's instructions were short but precise: one of us with each attack."

The two breakaway companions spent more than three quarters of the 192km stage to Saint-Fargeau, building up a maximum lead of five minutes over a Columbia-controlled peloton. Despite working well together, the two riders were caught with five kilometres remaining.

Formerly one of Robbie McEwen's key domestiques for reeling in early breakaways at the Tour, Van Summeren said that while he was satisfied with his long breakaway, he knew that the two riders had little hope of holding off the peloton.

"Only Sapa joined me. So far [from the finish] and just two [of us], I knew that dreaming was useless. But I have always been at top speed. It is pleasant to spend so much time in the lead."

Despite the failure of his breakaway attempt, Van Summeren revealed a fringe benefit of his day out.

"I did enjoy it. And as most combative rider of the day, I had the pleasure to kiss Gert Steegmans' girl, she is an hostess with the sponsor of that challenge."

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