Bauer & Trentin animate the moves in Gent-Wevelgem before Trentin sprints to 7thSun 31 Mar 2019
European champion Matteo Trentin had a dominating performance today in Gent-Wevelgem finding himself in an early breakaway and then a dangerous move of four-riders, before being caught in the final yet still sprinting into seventh place.
Teammate Jack Bauer animated the final of the race, finding himself in what looked to be the race winning move of four-riders with just four kilometres remaining.
The group was almost caught inside the last kilometre, but Bauer pushed on solo ahead of the bunch, all the way until the final 100metres, only to be passed by the fast approaching sprinters, with Alexander Kristoff coming out on top for the victory.
A fast start and crosswind splits
It was a fast start to the day with a tailwind helping the peloton along for the first hour of racing and despite some attacks, the peloton remaining in tact.
Just over 50kilometres of racing was completed and still a lengthy 200kilometers remained, when crosswinds caused a very dangerous and important split in the peloton. The leading group was small and consisted of only 20 riders, but amongst them were many big names including Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Trentin for Mitchelton-SCOTT.
The dangerous move
Over the Kemmelberg the tempo lifted and some sore, tired legs were seen in the front group. In an unexpected moment after the climb, on a open flat road with 68kilometres to go, Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma) and Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo) attacked away from the group, quickly followed by Trentin and Sagan, and the quartet quickly opened up an advantage.
The group hovered around 45seconds ahead of the reduced chasing group for over 45kilometres as the finish line drew closer. Just before the second time up the Kemmelberg, Luke Rowe (Team Sky), successfully bridged across to the leaders to make the group five-riders strong and animating the race.
The catch before more attacks
Deceuninck-Quickstep led the chase behind and with 20kilometres to go the gap was down to just 15seconds and shortly after their brave efforts for the day were over and the catch was finally made.
Trentin joined teammate Bauer back in the reduced main peloton, as fresh new attacks began to fly from the front of the race. With just under five kilometres to go, Bauer jumped into a move with three others which looked dangerous and as they approached the final one kilometre, it was touch and go if they would be caught or hold of for the race win.
Bauer refused to give up and continued fighting on at the front of the race, dangling ahead solo with the bunch chasing hard behind. As the sprint opened up it proved too much for Bauer and he was passed agonisingly close inside the final 200metres.
“It was a really big day today. I was in the group after 50kilometres and from then the race was on. I was hoping to have more guys there but we committed all the way. It was just hard racing so a move like this can work.
“Jack rode also really well and we decided that his best card was going with some attacks at the end because everyone was on their knees. He did that and we caught him only 500metres to go
“Seventh again but it is more sweet than Friday in E3. Of course winning is always the goal but how the race went I’m still happy that I could do a good sprint.”
“You can’t really compare the races up here to any other races at the start of the year, I suffered a bit in E3 but I felt really good today and it made for a fairly simple day having Matteo always on the front foot, I just followed behind.
“It is always exciting to be there in the final, I probably should have a made a move a little bit earlier. We actually had a decent gap, the four of us in the final, but it was a blazing headwind.
"It was a really straight direct run in, as it always is in Gent-Wevelgem, nobody made a move until the bunch was almost on us, and we lost our momentum. I had to try and wind it up from a standstill to go at 750metre. I gave it everything but it wasn’t to be today.
“Matteo is a class rider and we know he’s been on some stellar form this year so we just need things to fall into place, maybe on next Sunday, that would be nice.”
Laurenzo Lapage - Sport Director
"We took our chances today, we were there all day in the move, and then when Matteo was caught we were waiting behind with Jack which was perfect.
"Early on when it split, everybody knew that it was a dangerous place for the wind and one or two teams put it in the gutter and caused the split with Trentin and then there were groups everywhere.
“Thinking ahead about Flanders coming up, for the confidence and everything it was a good day for us. We were in the position to win so that is only good for us, we can be happy with that and like I said especially with Flanders and also Roubaix coming up.”
1. Alexander Kristoff (UAE)
2. John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo)
3. Oliver Naesen (AG2R-Mondail)
7. Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-SCOTT)
Photos courtesy of Getty Images