Juan José Lobato continued his eye-catching Tour de France debut by sprinting to a lofty seventh on stage five on Wednesday.
The young Andalusian famously grabbed the polkadots on his very first Tour stage on Saturday, but today showed what he's really good at: sprinting.
Approaching the last three clicks, the 24-year-old was brought up to the pointy end of the peloton by his team-mates and then did the rest by himself. While he was some way off matching Mark Cavendish's acceleration, just like everyone else, he did enough to best the likes of JJ Rojas, John Degenkolb, Danny van Poppel and Simon Gerrans to finish inside the top ten.
"I felt better today than I did on the stages on Corsica", he said post-race. "I managed to get over the small climbs, and then the team did a great job in the finale. I'm very motivate, so I'll keep trying".
Another rider who appeared motivated was Romain Sicard. The Tour debutant, riding on home roads, made it into the break of the day alongside five others. He got dropped along with Sojasun's Anthony Delaplace with some 50 clicks to go to the line in Marseille, but it's no wonder: at the base of the climb Thomas De Gendt would eventually make his move, Sicard suffered the ill-fortune of puncturing. Cue a quick wheel-chance and a energy-sapping sprint to catch up with his escape companions.
Just when he'd gotten back on, De Gendt jumped, leaving Sicard grasping for air and with nothing to do but set a steady tempo.
In the finale, a major crash took down a whole host of riders. Gorka Izagirre and Mikel Astarloza went down, but according to the team's website they'll be ready to roll on Thursday.
- (1, Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), 5:31:51)
- 7, Juan José Lobato, s.t.
- 33, Rubén Pérez, s.t.
- 55, Igor Antón, s.t.
- 71, Mikel Nieve, s.t.
- 81, Gorka Izagirre, s.t.
- 82, Ion Izagirre, s.t.
- 83, Juan José Oroz, s.t.
- 154, Mikel Astarloza, s.t.
- 195, Romain Sicard, 13:00