Trentin and Mezgec sneak into the top 20 on another messy sprint stage in Paris-Nice

Tue 12 Mar 2019

Yesterday’s fourth place finisher Matteo Trentin was the highest finisher today for Mitchelton-SCOTT in 19th place on a lengthy third stage, after splits in the peloton in the final kilometres caused mayhem.

Trentin did what he could to move up and into position in the final kilometre but it was too late and he had to settle for 19th place with Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) taking the stage honours into Moulins-Yzeure.

Headwind start

In complete contrast to yesterday’s stage, the peloton rolled out for a lengthy 200km into a headwind, which caused a steady average speed for the first hour of racing. 

With just 31.4km covered and not much action, two Delko Marseille Provence riders escaped easily off the front of the bunch and quickly opened up a lead of over four minutes as they passed the 150km to go mark.

The peloton kept the duo, Ramunas Navardauskas and Alessandro Fedeli, close within reach for over 100km along the flat French roads.

Setting the scene for another sprint

With 38km to go, earlier than expected, the breakaway duo were reeled back in and the peloton came back together for a short period. A narrowing over a small bridge caused a big pile up with Mikel Nieve coming down and Simon Yates caught up behind the crash for a moment.

Once most of the riders made it safely back in the peloton, the race was back on for the final sprint. In the last three kilometres, like previous days the race light up as Team Sky led the charge, causing splits in the group which caught out many riders including Trentin.

Trentin made a huge effort to jump across to the front split but subsequently after his effort and riding in the gutter and in a bad position, a fast charge came from behind and he found himself boxed in and out of contention for the stage win, finishing in 19th place with Mezgec in 20th.

Mitchelton-SCOTT head into the fourth stage with Trentin the highest placed rider on the GC in sixth place at 20seconds behind.

Matteo Trentin

“We didn’t actually sprint today, when Sky put it into the gutter I sprinted across to close the gap and then they just kept staying on the proper side of the road in the wind and then I hit some holes, all of them actually and then I dropped the wheel. Then from the back they were coming faster and I found myself in 40th position straight away. 

“Luka was behind then he got across to me so he made the same mistake as me and when we got boxed the first time it was already too late, with all the teams organising and coming up.

“We got boxed in a couple of times on the run in but pretty much it was over from that point. I was so far behind I gained position and position into the last kilometre but it was impossible they were too fast in the front. Maybe if I didn’t jump across and just stayed there it would have been better but you never know before.

"We really needed people stopping in the front to come around so it was just not a day for us today, tomorrow is another day.”

Paris-Nice - Stage 3 Results:

1. Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) 5:16:25
2. Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) ST
3. Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quickstep) ST
19. Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST

Paris-Nice - General Classification after Stage 3:

1. Dylan Groenewegen (Team Jumbo-Visma) 11:47:44
2. Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) +0:06
3. Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana Pro Team) +0:11
6. Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:20

Photos courtesy of Getty Images