The road to recovery shortens for Trentin with a strong showing at Het NieuwsbladSat 24 Feb 2018
Italian classics specialist Matteo Trentin showed positive signs that the form is coming for Mitchelton-SCOTT with a strong ride at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad today.
An action-packed final 40kilometres in Belgium saw the key selections form over the cobbled climbs with Mitchelton-SCOTT riding well throughout and Luke Durbridge and Trentin showing good signs that they are recovering well from early season injuries.
Michael Valgren (Astana) soloed to victory with a late attack from a group of favourites that included Trentin before the chasing bunch arrived to sprint for the remaining podium spots with Durbridge and Trentin finishing in the pack.
The first attacks came early and well before the initial cobbled sections as ten riders went clear over the opening 20kilometres. An hour later and the group had gained five minutes on the bunch before Quick-Step-Floors started to intensify the pursuit.
80kilometres remained with the climbs coming thick and fast when the break started to splinter and a couple of crashes disrupted proceedings within the peloton as the speed continued to increase.
For the next 40kilometres the action increased with repeated attacks coming from the front of the bunch finally catching the remnants of the breakaway and the cat and mouse tactics coming to the fore.
Greg Van Averamet (BMC-Racing-Team) Tim Wellens and Tiejs Benoot (Lotto-Soudal) were three of the main protagonists with Chris Juul Jensen also up there before a regrouping of around 50riders occurred with 35kilometres to go that also included Trentin and Alex Edmondson.
The Muur, Bosberg and a Dramatic Finale:
An uneasy ceasefire took hold of the bunch as the Muur van Geraardsbergen and the Bosberg approached and inevitably the race exploded again, it was Sep Vanmarcke (EF-Drapac) who jumped and split the race as an elite selection formed that included Trentin with 15kilometres to go.
The group carried the race over the Bosberg and beyond before the games began with three kilometres left to race, Valgren chose his moment well and banked on the chasers not cooperating.
The gamble worked and the Trentin group did not organise quickly enough as the Dane rode away to victory.
“I am quite disappointed with the result to be honest, the team worked hard all day and protected me perfectly and I was there with the key guys at the right time, but I was hoping to get to the finish and try to sprint for a result but it didn’t play out that way and maybe I could have positioned myself better."
“There’s good and bad feelings at the moment, good because we can be happy with the performance and bad because I am not happy with the result. We did a really good recon of the route yesterday and knew where the important attacks would come and the change in route made it like Tour of Flanders, but 60kilometres shorter.
“I need to remember where I was a few weeks ago and the body needs time to heel from a broken bone and we showed some really positive signs today. It was a hard race and for the last 70/80kilometres it was racing full gas, all or nothing. We look ahead to tomorrow now and try again.”
Sport director Laurenzo Lapage:
“We have to be happy with our performance today, we said to the guys at the beginning you don’t have to be the best in the race at this point, especially Luke and Matteo and it can be frustrating for professionals when they are on their way back to form and not quite 100%, but they are getting back to that level.”
“Nevertheless, the signs are good and the team as a whole rode very well and came through without any problems. Tomorrow maybe a different kind of race and maybe one for the sprinters, but if the wind is up like today it could be interesting.”
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad results:
1. Michael Valgren (Astana) 04:50:14
2. Lucas Wisniowski (Team-Sky) +0:12
3. Sep Vanmarcke (EF-Drapac) ST
45. Luke Durbridge (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST
Photos courtesy of Getty Images.