"I didn't know it would feel like that"
By Brecht Decaluwé in Dunkerque and Gent
Before the stage start in Dunkerque Predictor-Lotto's Wim Vansevenant was asked about his ambitions of the day. Not a normal question for a man who took his only professional win more than ten years ago, and who normally doesn't care about the cameras as he's just pulling to get a breakaway back or picking up bottles for his team leaders Robbie McEwen and Cadel Evans. Nevertheless, it was clear he would be in the picture today as the Tour de France cruised near his hometown Eernegem in the middle of the stage.
"I think something like this will never happen to me again," said the 35 year-old, who realised a special day was coming up. At the start, Vansevenant wasn't sure he'd get to take the traditional bow in front of the peloton, as he had more important work to do. "I'm here to work and for nothing else. It's not that we don't like to make fun, but we're in the Tour de France and we're defending the green jersey.
"I remember Marc Wauters once was wearing the yellow jersey when he rode in his area, it will certainly not be like that," Vansevenant explained. Despite his professional ambitions it turned out that Vansevenant was allowed to receive some glory by the peloton, and was able to ride alone ahead of the peloton for a few minutes. "Yeah, I know," Vansevenant laughed. "It was very special to ride through my city, I didn't think it would feel like that," Vansevenant reacted.
"It was intuition, and I enjoyed it very much although I'm sad that I attacked too late to stop for my son - but there were so many people - it was perfect," Vansevenant described. Last year the Belgian finished as lantern rouge in Paris and Vansevenant is once again close to this position, being ranked 184th after stage two. "I received more media attention than expected by that position, that was funny," Vansevenant laughed.