Trentin takes seventh as the break stays clear in Murcia

Fri 15 Feb 2019

European Champion Matteo Trentin took seventh on the opening stage of the Vuelta Ciclista a la Región de Murcia Costa Cálida as the only climb of the day proved to be the decisive factor, with a select group breaking clear on the slopes of the Alto Cabeza de la Plata and staying away to the finish.

The Italian initially held onto the group of favourites on the ascent but couldn’t keep the pace of the climbers towards the summit, eventually dropping back to the second group and taking the bunch sprint for seventh behind winner Pello Bilbao (Astana Pro Team).

The breakaway:
The day had originally looked like one for the sprinters, with the peloton content to let a group of seven go up the road as they rolled out of Yecla, with 188.8km of largely flat roads ahead of them.

The gap to the escapees eventually grew to a maximum of three minutes and 50 seconds, with Mitchelton-SCOTT helping control the pace on the front of the bunch and keeping the gap in check.

The gap to the seven leaders began to shrink rapidly as the break hit the 100km to go mark, with Kiwi Jack Bauer sharing the chasing duties with BORA - hansgrohe on the front of the peloton. The speed continued to increase as the roads went downhill ahead of the only categorised climb of the day, the Alto Cabeza de la Plata.

Big move:
The seven-rider breakaway was eventually brought back on the slopes of the climb as Astana Pro Team set a strong tempo on the steeper ramps. Trentin did well to hold on as a small group of favourites formed, but the 29-year-old struggled to follow the wheels and was distanced.

As a result, the European champion found himself in-between the new leading group and a larger bunch that had formed on the climb. The recent Volta a la Valenciana stage winner opted to drop back to the reduced second group on the road as the chase to bring back the leaders began.

With four Astana riders amongst those that got away, the new group of seven worked well to establish a gap of more than 30 seconds. With 5km to go the gap had dropped to 20 seconds as the leaders came into sight, but Bilbao launched a solo attack within the last kilometre and stayed away to lead home an Astana one, two, three.

Matteo Trentin:
“Astana went full gas on the climb but I managed to stay up there until the group was only eight riders. The pace was super high and I had to let go of the wheel in front at about 1km from the top. As soon as they realised I was dropped they hammered the pace even more and I ended up between the two groups.”

“I waited for the chasing group on the bottom of the downhill and the guys rode amazing to try and bring the leaders back.”

“I knew it would be difficult to bring them back but I was confident the guys could do it, but there was a crash around 4km to go and that probably ruined the whole chase.”

“The team gave their all for the victory and I'm proud of them!”

Vuelta Ciclista a la Región de Murcia Costa Cálida – Stage 1 Results:
1. Pello Bolbao (Astana) 4:15:04
2. Omar Fraile (Astana) 0:03
3. Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) ST
7. Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:09 

Vuelta Ciclista a la Región de Murcia Costa Cálida – General Classification after Stage 1:
1. Pello Bolbao (Astana) 4:15:04
2. Omar Fraile (Astana) 0:03
3. Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) ST
7. Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:09 

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.