Euskaltel put an unprecedented two riders in the top ten of Paris-Tours on Sunday.
Jon Aberasturi and Ioannis Tamouridis may not have been close to challenging eventual victor John Degenkolb for the big prize, but the duo helped each other out well in the closing kilometre to grab eighth and ninth respectively and thus finish their careers in orange on a relative high.
Following close behind was Peio Bilbao in 16th, three riders in the top 20 thus making up for the team's failure to get into any of the meaningful breaks underway.
Thanks to their new-found sprinting legs, the team ended up taking out the team classification in their last ever Paris-Tours participation.
No wonder sports director Óscar Guerrero was proud of his charges post-race.
"It was difficult to get into the breaks, but we stayed patient until the end and have come away with a great result", he enthused. "We've offered an exemplary image of the team through to the very end, and we've showed we're professionals".
- (1, John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano), 5:29:19)
- 8, Jon Aberasturi, s.t.
- 9, Ioannis Tamouridis, s.t.
- 16, Peio Bilbao, s.t.
- 42, Adrián Sáez, s.t.
- 45, Miguel Mínguez, s.t.
- 125, Robert Vrecer, 3:16
- DNF: Ricardo Mestre
Over in China, Euskaltel's no-show continued on day three.
'The carrots' have failed to infiltrate any of the marquee breaks thus far, and in the sprint finish at the end of the 176km third stage from Yanqing to Qiandiajian it was once left to Garikoitz Bravo to fend for the team's honour.
Without much assistance, the first-year Euskaltel rider's 12th place was noteworthy and indicative of his strong late-season shape.
Mikel Landa and Ricardo García both managed to keep up with the peloton on what was a challenging day of racing, meaning the team still has cards to play in the fight for the overall with two days to go.
- (1, Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr), 4:08:15)
- 12, Garikoitz Bravo, s.t.
- 30, Mikel Landa, s.t.
- 42, Ricardo García, s.t.
- 61, Juan José Oroz, 0:43
- 122, Mikel Astarloza, 17:04
- 123, Juan José Lobato, s.t.
- DNF: Pablo Urtasun, Gorka Verdugo