Juan Jose Lobato started his season with second place behind Marcel Kittel (Giant-Alpecin) on Sunday night at the flat People's Choice Classic but proved to be the fastest on the selective Stirling circuit at the Tour Down Under even after flatting on the final lap. The Movistar rider timed his sprint to perfection as he came around Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEdge) to claim his first WorldTour win while teammate Gorka Izagirre's third place made it an occasion to remember.
"I am very content to start the season like this and I am grateful for my team," Lobato told reporters after the stage. "I've had two years of good results, and I couldn't started off 2015 any better.
"I'm super happy. I had a small incident in the finale with a flat tire during the last lap, and that's why I didn't have the best position into the final slopes. Fortunately, the team has always been there supporting me, helping me out with that trouble, and I'm really excited to offer them a victory to pay back after their efforts."
Lobato joined Movistar after spending the 2013 season in the WorldTour with Euskaltel-Euskadi and in the last 12 months, Lobato's run of results includes victory on the opening stage at the Vuelta a Burgos, a stage at the Tour de Wallonie, second places stage finishes at Tour de Suisse and Tour of Austria to go with his fourth place at the 2014 Milan San Remo.
The 26-year-old now sits in second place overall, three seconds down on Jack Bobridge (UniSA-Australia) ahead of the decisive GC stage from Norwood to Paracombe but the team has other riders for the GC, including a former Tour de L'Aviner winner.
"The team have brought two guys for GC and they will be showing their faces, that is Rubén [Fernandez] and Gorka," he said.
With two more stages suited to his characteristics, Lobato is hoping he can end the week with another win added to his palmarès and more success for Movistar.
"I work every day to perform strongly into sprints of every condition: uphill, like today's, flat or high-speed ones in slight downhill like Sunday's criterium. It's true that these finishes are bringing me victories, but I don't want to focus exclusively on them," he added.
"I think I did my best offseason training this winter, working really hard, several days behind the motorbike to come here with racing form. I just hope the streak has only started with this victory. Tomorrow's finish is pretty hard - I'm more confident about Friday, which suits me well.
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