Tour de France Stage 11: Trentin on the Podium, OPQS Maintains Offensive Strategy
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Matteo Trentin crossed in 3rd place on Wednesday, just seconds behind stage winner Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Belisol).
Gallopin attacked a breakaway that included Michal Kwiatkowski of OPQS with 2.7km to go. The French rider had initially gone off the front, but Kwiatkowski bridged to him with Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Michael Rodgers (Tinkoff-Saxo) inside 5km to go in the stage.
John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) finished 2nd, crossing in the field sprint behind Gallopin.
OPQS played the aggressor as they had the entire Tour de France so far. Jan Bakelants went into a breakaway on the 187.5km Stage from Besancon to Oyonnax, which included four Category 3 and 4 climbs close together near the end of the stage. Bakelants was caught with several other riders within 20km to go. Nicolas Roche (Tinkoff-Saxo) was also caught with 14.4km to go after attacking out of the Bakelants group.
Tony Martin split the peloton as Roche was caught with his usual impressively high pace on the front. He did his job, and pulled off after giving his all while wearing the red bib numbers for the Most Combative Award.
OPQS looks next to 185.5km Stage 12 medium mountain stage, with the Category 3 and 4 climbs far more spread out along the parcours. The finale includes a short uphill that goes flat before the line.
"Maybe I could have done something better than 3rd, but racing is racing," Trentin said. "We've played our cards, even today. Kwiato was in the front in a small group. He tried to attack on the descent, but it didn't work out. We maybe didn't have quite the legs we wanted today. Thanks to Michal Golas I could come back to the front in the final to contest the sprint for 2nd place. We knew it would be for a podium place and not the win at 1km to go, but OK we went for it full gas. We launched the sprint at 220 meters to go and Degenkolb just passed me. He was faster today. That's all it was. I tried my best. Tomorrow is another day and we will try again. We have continued to fight for the big results and tomorrow will be no exception."
"In the last climb of the day we moved to the first part of the peloton," Kwiatkowski said. "We started to work and on the descent we were in the front. That was the time we made a move, because the descent was very technical, and with Matteo and Golas there we tried to win a stage in two possible ways. I went away with Gallopin, Sagan, and Rogers, but I also knew Matteo was still in the back in case we were caught. I tried to attack with 3km to go and get away from those guys. But it didn't work out, so Matteo was there to also try in the peloton. We did our best and still earned a 3rd place as nobody could catch Gallopin. We have to be happy that we tried with the options we have and look forward to trying again tomorrow."
"Finally today I felt OK enough to try my luck," Bakelants said. "I felt good the other days, but today I could really go into a breakaway and see what can happen. The condition was good. I felt strong, but then Roche attacked the group. He seemed to really have the legs out of the group and I couldn't follow. I also tried a few times to make it into the breakaway before this one finally worked, which used up some energy. We also never had a significant advantage to get to the line anyway, so while I couldn't follow, it was likely not going to work out. This is the gamble we take when we go up the road. If you never try, you never know. But I'm satisfied that I had the condition to try today Maybe I can play my cards again in the next day."