He wasn't the most obvious inclusion in the Tour line-up, Juan José Oroz, but he's certainly paying his sports directors back for trusting him with a combative performance in France.
For the second time in the race, Oroz formed part of the day's main break on day ten from Saint-Gildes-des-Bois to Saint-Malo on Tuesday. He got away - along with four others - virtually from the off and was only reeled in with five clicks to go. Still, though, they were never close to making it to the line as the sprinters' teams kept them on a tight leash throughout.
Sensing they were about to get caught some 30 clicks out he went for it, but he was quickly caught and decided to stick with his breakaway companions to the end.
"The other day was in the break they caught us with 2,5 to go, today earlier, but you never know", he said. "You know it's going to be hard, but you have to keep that flicker of hope.
"In general, the team is being a protagonist in the biggest race in the world. Be it in breaks, in sprints or in the mountains: there's always an Euskaltel rider in the mix and that's the way to go".
In today's sprint finish, Euskaltel were out of luck. JJ Lobato never really got into position and was hindered by that spectacular tumble by Tom Veelers. He eventually came home in 29th.
- (1, Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano), 4.53:25)
- 29, Juan José Lobato, s.t.
- 32, Mikel Nieve, s.t.
- 36, Rubén Pérez, s.t.
- 58, Igor Antón, s.t.
- 63, Ion Izagirre, s.t.
- 66, Mikel Astarloza, s.t.
- 87, Romain Sicard, s.t.
- 89, Juan José Oroz, s.t.
- 143, Gorka Izagirre, s.t.
Photo: Le Tour