New recruit Juan José Lobato has gotten his Euskaltel adventure off to a more than decent start Down Under. The 24-year-old placed 11th in Sunday's People's Choice Classic, before going on to take 12th on the first stage of the Tour Down Under itself.
Most WorldTour first-timers would doubtlessly be pleased with such results, but 'JJ' was expecting more.
"I'm only half-happy", he told VeloFutur. "It's the first race of the year and I don't know where I'm at physically. What's more, those two finishes weren't ideal for me - they were completely flat and required a lot of power. I'm a lighter sprinter, which means I need the finish line to come at the top of a short climb or that the race is quite selective. But overall it hasn't been a bad start".
The man from Andalucía was protected and marshalled well by his team-mates on both occasions, and he admits he can't fault anyone but himself.
"I got it totally wrong on the first stage", he said. "I though it was going too fast and that I would blow up, so I dropped back a little bit. However, when I got close to the line I realized I had some power left and could pass some riders, which goes to show I didn't calculate well. It was the first race of the year, and it's normal that stuff like that happens.
"I have the complete support of my team, though, and I appreciate that".
Lobato finished 112th, 7:34 in arrears, on today's third stage. Up tomorrow is a relatively sprinter-friendly 126,5km ride from Modbury to Tanunda.
Photo: Euskaltel Euskadi