Trentin edges closer for Mitchelton-SCOTT with seventh in Gent-WevelgemSun 25 Mar 2018
After the frustration from Friday’s race in Harelbeke had died down Matteo Trentin’s attention turned to the 80th edition of Gent-Wevelgem where the Italian sprinted to seventh in the final after another strong team performance.
Trentin was never alone throughout the race and well executed tactics of Mitchelton-SCOTT left Slovenian champion Luka Mezgec alongside Trentin in a select favourites group flying towards the finish in Wevelgem.
Despite repeated attacks over the closing kilometres the race came down to a reduced bunch sprint that was won by world champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) with Trentin in seventh place.
Six riders made a successful move out of the peloton over the first 30kilometres and began to develop and advantage. Sixty kilometres later and they boasted a lead of ten minutes on the bunch.
Over the first ascent of the Baneberg with 80kilometres to go the pace remained easy in the peloton, the break still five-minutes up the road. The battle for position started in earnest on the descent of the Kemmelberg and the narrow dirt roads that followed.
Jack Bauer sparked more action with a pair of attacks with 50kilometres left to race before the bunch split heavily the second time up the Kemmelberg.
Mezgec and Trentin were both in the 30rider strong favourites group only seconds behind the leaders with 24kilometres to go and the deciding moves about to unfold.
Cat and Mouse all the way to the finish:
With nearly all the fast men and pre-race favourites making it into the front group with 20kilometres to go the marking was tight and the tension increasing.
Attack after attack threatened to break the group up ahead of the final kilometre, but the games faded as Quick-Step-Floors took it up into the sprint, but it was Sagan who was the most canny, veering to the left for victory with Trentin close behind in 7th.
“Quite surprisingly there wasn’t much wind and it made for a better day in terms of stress and it actually wasn’t that hard until later on, because we didn’t see so many big attacks going from far out.”
“The boys did a great job of keeping us positioned well today and Luka was fantastic over the top of the Kemmelberg the second time, really strong.
“But in the final, we were up against some of the pure sprinters, who had all made it through and against those guys we did the best that we could. It played out this way in part because of the conditions when it’s not so tough you can’t make those splits in the climbs and lose some of the fast guys.
“I am feeling good and will have a few days now to prepare for the Tour of Flanders next Sunday.”
Sport director Matt Wilson:
“It was a good day out for the team today and the guys did a super job of making sure that we always had someone at the front of the race. Luka and Matteo made the key split with around 25-guys and they went all the way to the finish, it just turned out to be the 25-fastest guys in the race!”
“It was a shame that it was such exclusive company in that group, but Luka and Matteo both did really well. We got the best result possible in that situation and in the end we were beaten by faster guys. Now we look forwrad to Waregem on wednesday."
1. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 05:07:32
2. Elia Viviani (Quick-Step-Floors) ST
3. Arnaud Demare (FDJ)
7. Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-BikeExchange) ST
Photos courtesy of Getty Images.