Trentin takes ninth place in a chaotic Omloop Het NieuwsbladSat 2 Mar 2019
European Champion Matteo Trentin fought to ninth place today on the first Belgian Classics race of the season, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, despite a fall early on.
Trentin suffered a crash in the first part of the race but battled back on to the peloton in time for the real action, making it into the final select group which formed over the Molenberg.
Another crash caused the main split in the front group which saw five riders get away and hold on to contest the final with Zdenek Stynbar (Deceuninck-Quickstep) attacking away in the last kilometre to take a solo victory.
Quadruplet make a move
Like the women’s race, shortly after the start flag dropped a breakaway established. Four riders, Alex Howes (EF Education First), Tom Devriendt (Wanty Gobert) Roy Jans (Corendon-Circus) and Tom Wirtgen (Wallonie-Bruxelles) jumped away and rapidly opened up a lead of over 13minutes with the peloton relaxed and happy to let them dangle ahead.
Trentin suffered a fall after about 60kilometres into the race, he picked himself and was able to continue but took a long time to make contact again with the main peloton.
Wind adds to the Cobble Chaos
The four leaders continued ahead with a healthy advantage for over 100kilometres before the bunch slowly started to drag back the quadruplet, with the gap finally dipping under five minutes with around 90km to go.
Before the Paddestraat, the wind added another dynamic to the race and the main chasing peloton split into three groups. A larger group of 21 riders broke away with Mitchelton-SCOTT all back in the main bunch behind.
Eventually the groups returned back together and the gap to the four leaders dropped down to just two minutes with 65km remaining.
The race winning split
The main split of the day occurred over the Molenberg climb, with Trentin making it alongside 15others.
The pace was on from this point and Trentin lost contact slightly over the Berendries before fighting back into contention once again. A unfortunate crash on the next climb saw Ties Benoot (Lotto-Soudal) fall which created a split in the front group with six riders getting away, which proved to be the most decisive of the race.
Trentin was caught behind and then his chase group grew with teammate Durbridge coming across and committing to the chase to bring back the five dangerous riders ahead. Despite the group's efforts, the six leaders dangled around 30seconds ahead as they entered the final four kilometres, which proved to be enough to hold on to contest the race victory.
With just over one kilometre remaining, Stybar attacked away from the escapees after they started to cat and mouse and the Deceuninck-Quickstep rider stayed away to claim the race victory, with Trentin having to settle for a minor placing behind after a typically hard start to the cobble Classics.
“I crashed at the start, just ran off the road and flipped over the bike, nothing really serious but it was quite painful at the beginning and it probably took its toll.
“I had to chase for quite a long time, but I managed to get back on after my crash and in the race it was pretty chaotic as usual.
“I got bit dropped on the Berendries but then got back onto the group but then there was a crash on the next climb that caused a split in the group and from there it was split and there was nothing we could do.
"The guys in front were really strong. We tried to close it at the end but it didn’t work. In the end you can’t afford to lose anything in these races.
“It’s hard to say where my form for cobbled classic is today because I had to chase for quite a long time, so I don’t know, let’s see tomorrow for a more clear idea.”
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Men’s Results:
1. Zdenek Stynbar (Deceuninck-Quickstep)
2. Greg van Avermaet (CCC)
3. Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal)
9. Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-SCOTT)
Photos courtesy of Getty Images