Daniel Oss is at the Tour de France to protect Liquigas-Cannondale team leader Ivan Basso but with good legs and a good morale, the Italian is trying to take any chance he gets to ride for himself.
Many failed to identify Oss as he dived through the final corners of the stage to Carmaux, leading out the sprint, but he had been let off the leash by directeur sportif Stefano Zanatta and tried to take his chance against Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) and eventual winner Andre Greipel (Omega Pharma-Lotto).
Oss was also overtaken by Jose Joaquim Rojas (Movistar), Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) and Romain Feillu (Vacansoleil), but finished an impressive sixth after hitting out too early. The lanky rider form the northern Trentino region of Italy had a troubled spring but seems to have found his form for the Tour.
“My legs are good, I can feel it,” he said in a press release from the team.
“I’ve handled the climbs pretty well and that’s a good sign. On the last climb today I was at the front when it split. The important thing was to look after Basso and I did that with Paterski without problem. Then the team car gave me the green light to have a go in the sprint.
“Zanatta gave me two vital pieces of advice for the final dangerous corners. I was with the sprinters after the red kit that indicates the final kilometre. They know the tricks of the trade a little better than me and I perhaps went a bit too early. If I’d been a bit more aggressive I think I could have finished in the top three but when you’re going for it, you follow your instinct instead of logic.”
Built around Basso
The Liquigas-Cannondale team has been built around helping Ivan Basso target overall success. He is eleventh at the moment, 3:36 behind Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) but for now the team’s focus remains on protecting him all the way to Paris. Oss is happy to accept that his own ambitions are secondary but will continue to sniff out opportunities for success.
“I’m here to protect Ivan and that’s the number one priority. He’s got big plans and we’re with him all the way,” Oss said.
“We know it’s worth it when we work to keep him out of trouble at the front. Our personal ambitions are not important but we’ll try something when the race, our tactics and form offer us a chance to get in a break.”
“”I tried today and was vigilant. I even tried to get across to the break but came up short by just fifty meters. Perhaps it was better that way in the end…”