Trentin sprints to seventh in chaotic finish to stage one of the Tour de France

Sat 6 Jul 2019

European champion Matteo Trentin sprinted to seventh place in a hectic finale to the opening stage of the 2019 Tour de France.

A crash inside the final three kilometres caused chaos on the run to the finish with the sprinter’s teams unable to control the bunch as Mike Teunissen (Team Jumbo-Visma) took a surprise victory in Brussels.

Brit Adam Yates safely negotiated the carnage around him to make it safely through the stage along with the rest of his Mitchelton-SCOTT teammates.

Go Time

It didn’t take long for the breakaway to establish itself with four riders jumping clear as the flag dropped on the outskirts of the Belgian capital. Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team) was amongst them with a battle for the first Polka Dot jersey expected on the famous Muur van Geraardsbergen.

It was local-man Van Avermaet who took the maximum points over the cobbled climb and then second on the next classified ramp before dropping back to the peloton with the jersey secured, leaving just three riders around three minutes ahead of the field.

A routine run to the finish was then expected with the breakaway being held at a manageable distance by the sprinter’s teams, but as the peloton hit the Chaussée de Fleurus cobbled sector the race was blown apart with BORA-hansgrohe setting a high tempo on the front of the bunch.

Chaotic Finish

The injection of pace saw a number of riders caught out and the peloton was soon split into three groups. Adam Yates was alert to the danger and made it into the front split with a number of Mitchelton-SCOTT teammates for company, while his brother Simon (Yates) was temporarily caught behind in the third group before the race came back together.

With the race reset a counter move soon followed with a solo attack going clear and the gap quickly went out to 1’30”. But the sprinter’s teams kept the distance in check and it was all back together once more with nine kilometres remaining as the peloton geared up for a sprint finish.

There was drama in the closing kilometres as a crash in the bunch claimed several riders, with Mitchelton-SCOTT avoiding the carnage. With the sprint teams failing to control the run to the line it was everyman for himself as Teunissen sprinted to a shock win while Trentin grabbed a solid seventh place.

Matteo Trentin:
“We weren’t concerned with the splits over the cobbles, it wasn’t a big deal, but I have to say that it was pretty fast. As usual at the Tour de France, it’s the first day and everyone is fresh.”

“I didn’t see the crash, but it was really hectic, I was on the wheel of INEOS and then with two-kilometres to go they started to sit up so I just surfed onto the wheel of Quick-Step and Viviani.”

“Then it was super chaotic because we didn’t start very fast, everyone was coming from the back so it was really, really chaotic. I lost a little bit of a momentum with 500 to go, then I found another good place to pass but I was too far away.”

Matt White (Sports Director):
“Today was probably the biggest crowds we’ll see for the whole Tour de France, it reminded me a lot of when the race started in England and Germany, it was incredible. The whole stage there was maybe only two kilometres where it wasn’t one, two or 10-deep crowds.”

“For us today was just about staying out of trouble and getting Matteo into a good position in the final, which the boys did. Last year before the team time trial we had two guys crash, which had a big effect on our final result, but today they’re got through unscathed.”

“The focus tomorrow is to win it. If we win it by one second, that’s the win. It will be hard to put 11-seconds into Team Jumbo-Visma and I think you’ll be able to throw a blanket over a few teams.”

Tour de France 2019 Stage 1 Results:
1. Mike Teunissen (Team Jumbo-Visma) 4:22:47
2. Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe) ST
3. Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) ST
7. Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST

General Classification After Stage 1:
1. Mike Teunissen (Team Jumbo-Visma) 4:22:37
2. Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe) +0:04
3. Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) +0:06
7. Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:10

Photos courtesy of Getty Images.