Trentin solos to fourth victory for Mitchelton-SCOTT on stage 17 of the Tour de FranceWed 24 Jul 2019
European champion Matteo Trentin soloed to his first Tour de France victory in five years and the team’s fourth of the race on stage 17 into Gap.
The Italian made it into the break of the day before attacking over the final climb and soloing to an impressive win by over 30-seconds.
The Final Chance
The stage was seen by many as the last chance for the opportunists to succeed before the race heads back into the mountains tomorrow and as a results, a big fight to get down to road ensued as soon as the flag dropped on the outskirts of Pont du Gard.
Mitchelton-SCOTT were keen to have numbers in the move and Trentin and Dane Chris Juul-Jensen managed to infiltrate a large group of over 30-riders that split the bunch in the opening kilometres. But with several teams missing out on the move, the peloton set about chasing the escapees down as the gap was held at around one-minute.
Eventually the chasing teams gave up on their attempts at catching the break and succumbed to the pressure from the general classifications teams who were hoping for an easier day in the saddle. As the bunch sat up the advantage of the break quickly went out and stood at over 11-minutes over the first of the two categorised climbs.
The Final Climb
The real action was expected to come on the run into the foot of the final climb of the day, the category-three Col de la Sentinelle, and so it proved as the first attacks began to roll out of the breakaway with 35-kilometres remaining. But, both Juul-Jensen and Trentin were alert to the moves, with the former marking the attacks well for his teammate.
With the first attacks being launched the group began to breakdown and a select group of 11-riders sprung clear of the rest of the breakaway. Trentin was amongst the selection and the 29-year-old was keen to reduce the numbers at the head of the race even further as he upped the pace.
Just six riders remained on the approach to the climb and as the cooperation faltered, Trentin made his move. The Italian raced into the ascent and quickly opened up a sizeable gap as the chasers looked at each other. Trentin made it over the summit with a 30-second gap and there was no chance of catching the now three-time Tour de France stage winner as he powered to a famous solo victory.
“It was really an emotional finish because I’ve actually only won two races in my career alone, and doing it here in the Tour de France, with this finish line, with this group in front. It was amazing.”
“Chris was a really big help. We spoke to each other and decided he would cover the early attacks and he did cover a lot. Then when that strong move went, I was able to follow and it was the perfect scenario.”
“I tried [to attack] a few times, because there was no collaboration and I knew that if I got maybe a 10-second gap and they start to watch each other, with the legs I have I can finish it off. I was a bit scared with the headwind and the guys behind taking a turn each they could have taken some time, but it wasn’t the case. When I was on top of the climb the only intention was to go full gas, taking as little risk as possible.”
Matt White (Sports Director):
"It’s been a dream run, we really needed Matteo or Daryl (Impey) in the break today, like on stage nine, because they’re the fast guys who can finish it off. But the unsung heroes are the guys like Chris Juul-Jensen, the workers. When there’s a group of that size it’s always valuable to have a teammate because you can rely on that person."
"When you look at the group there, I would put (Jasper) Stuyven as faster than Matteo and you don’t want to mess with Greg Van Avermaet in a small group sprint. Matteo is obviously very confident of his condition at the moment, so the safest option if you’ve got that sort of condition is to go alone and eliminate all the risks."
"Every person that is with you in a group is a threat and complicates things, so if you’ve got the condition to do what he did, it was the perfect move. Matteo had incredible legs to finish it off, all he had to do was get to the top of the final climb with any sort of lead and nobody is going to catch him on a descent."
"If you’d have told us at the start of the Tour de France that we’d walk away with four stage wins, yeah we’d have taken it. It’s pretty rare that teams win four stages from breakaways, to win from four breakaways is pretty impressive, but we are not done yet."
Tour de France 2019 Stage 17 Results:
1. Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 4:21:36
2. Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck - Quick Step) +0:37
3. Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team) +0:41
General Classification After Stage 16:
1. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) 69:39:16
2. Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos) +1:35
3. Steven Kruijswijk (Team Jumbo-Visma) +1:47
28. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +41:42
Photo courtesy of Getty Images.