They said they'd be aggressive and aggressive they were. Euskaltel's pair of captains both went on the offensive on Monday's third stage of the Tour.
Going up the last climb of the day, the cat. 2 Col de Marsolino, they both put in digs in turns. First Antón, then Nieve.
The former looked spent even before he jumped and didn't get much of a gap. The latter, though, looked much more on his game and managed to join forces with Chavanel, Nordhaug and Rolland on the road to the finish in Calvi.
A potent quartet it was, but the sprinters weren't going to let another chance at glory slip from their grasp and duly caught them inside the final five clicks.
Simon Gerrans, who famously gave his word to Egoi Martínez on stage 15 of the 2008 Tour that he wouldn't attack him at the end of the stage but still did and ended up with the win, bested Peter Sagan by the tiniest of margins to take his team Orica-GreenEdge's first ever win at the Grand Boucle.
Gorka Izagirre made an effort to get in on the action and ended up tenth.
On a less positive note, brother Ion's white jersey ambitions took a big hit when he punctured right at the base of the final climb - in other words at the worst possible time. Rubén Pérez handed him his well but it was to little help, Izagirre going on to cede close to four minutes.
- (1, Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge), 3:41:24)
- 10, Gorka Izagirre, s.t.
- 35, Mikel Astarloza, s.t.
- 45, Igor Antón, s.t.
- 67, Mikel Nieve, s.t.
- 96, Ion Izagirre, 3:40
- 141, Juan José Oroz, 8:26
- 146, Juan José Lobato, s.t.
- 149, Romain Sicard, s.t.
- 176, Rubén Pérez, 9:15