Tour de France Stage 14: Trentin Gets First Tour Win in his Race Debut
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Matteo Trentin won the fourth stage of the Tour de France for the team out of an original 18 rider breakaway at 191km Tour de France Stage 14 on Saturday, launching his sprint from long distance and overtaking several riders in an exciting final that included catching a rider solo with just a kilometer to go.
Trentin — in his Tour de France debut — was active in the final kilometers, even launching his own attack in hopes of catching Julien Simon (Sojasun). The continuous attacks in the break was enough to keep the tempo high and eventually Simon was caught. The gap to the peloton was more than enough to ensure the escape group would decide the stage. The stage included seven categorized climbs, but none higher than Category 3, and the final was flat.
In the final meters, Michael Albasini (ORICA-GreenEDGE) launched his sprint first in front. Trentin was able to launch on the right side from behind and powered his way past Albasini just before the line. Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) was 3rd.
Trentin used his experience as the second to last leadout man for Mark Cavendish in his own sprint to victory.
"With Mark we always plan the sprint before the race," Trentin said. "Every time we plan, so I have to start from this point, and arrive at that point. Gert has to start from that point and bring Mark to, I don't know, 250 or 200 meters. The thing we always say is 'be calm and wait for the right moment.' Today, I just waited for the right moment. Because I saw the wind, and everybody that started before me in the sprint for sure would come back because it was too strong to make a longer sprint than 200 meters. I just waited because I knew that my good sprint is 200 meters or less. When I saw the 200 meter marker, I started and that was the key of my sprint today."
Trentin had to do plenty of work to put himself in good position, as riders were attacking and marking each other all the way into the final. In the last meters, he said, all of the controlling no longer mattered.
"In a breakaway of about 20, of course you can't control everybody," Trentin said. "So maybe somebody controlled Albasini, maybe the guys who think for sure he is going to attack for the final. They know I am quite fast, so maybe there's a fast guy who controlled me. Because in the last 20km I saw that I always had Rojas (Movistar) with me, on my wheel, almost always behind me. I also controlled other guys, so it's something like a tactic within a tactic during the race. But when you arrive to the finish line it is just your legs. Nothing more controls somebody else."
Trentin has gained quick experience despite being such a young rider. He recently completed the Giro d'Italia, and now has stood on the top step of a Tour de France podium. However, he thinks he still has to learn a lot about himself on the bike.
"I think in the last two years of professional cycling I have tried almost everything," Trentin said of his riding. "Because I did the Classics, I did one Grand Tour, I'm still doing my second one in the same year. For sure all that experience that the team made for me, is also part of this victory. Because I have the chance to ride with great riders like the big champion Mark, Tom Boonen in the Classics, and also Tony Martin in the time trials. I'm on a great team, with a great structure, and it is perfect to grow up as a rider. I don't know where I can focus for sure on my future. For sure I love the Classics, but I think we can see in a few years. I have to grow more to be sure if this is right or if that is right."
Trentin's OPQS teammates were so happy for his victory that they rushed to hug him, one-by-one, immediately after the stage.
"We have a great spirit in this team, we are really united," Trentin said. "The hugs of my teammates meant a lot to me. For sure, a win in the Tour it means something special. Now I want to enjoy this with my teammates. The next days will be hard. I think we need to be focused for the Champs-Élysées for Mark. At the finish of the Tour then we will see how I will finish the season."