Matteo Trentin said he was going to win the stage and he duly delivered his treble and Quick-Step Floor’s fifth victory at La Vuelta. The Italian was simply too strong on the uphill kicker of a finish, taking the bunch sprint by a bike length from Sky’s man-of-the-moment Gianni Moscon (Sky) and Sunweb’s Danish tyro Søren Kragh Andersen. It wasn’t all good news for Quick-Step however, as Davide de la Cruz found himself on the wrong side of a split in the furious, technical finale to slip from 4th to 5th place. The rest top 10 on GC all finished in the first group and stay as they were going into a make-or-break mountainous weekend.
Rider of the Race
It’s all very well to announce that you’re going to sail over the line arms aloft, it’s quite a different kettle of fish to actually deliver said victory salute at the end of the day. It’s a promise that requires some pretty special teamwork and so I have no hesitation whatsoever in calling the whole darn posse of Quicksteppers up to the podium to bask in the glow of the VeloVoices award.
Having the stage favourite in your ranks means everyone else in the peloton will look to you to control the breakaway and Tim de Clerq, Eros Capecchi and Enric Mas worked hard for kilometre after kilometre in the blast furnace heat. There’s no better duo than former red jersey holder Yves Lampaert and former Paris Roubaix victor Niki Terpstra for neutralising the last-man-standing from the break and holding position for the crucial leg-breaker of a climb with 3km to go. No finer rider than Bob Jungels [Jungels! BOB JUNGELS!- Ed] to keep the pace high through the seemingly endless roundabouts, and certainly no one else you’d want to chase that late attack than Julian Alaphilippe.
But you know what really makes me sing their praises? It’s not the fact that this is Matteo’s treble or that he’s the first Italian to achieve this at the Vuelta in 10 years. It’s not even that this is the team’s 47th win of the season. As eye-watering as these figures are, what’s much more impressive to me is this set of figures …
If they carry on like this the driver may need to find a new place for the podium plushies.
Five victories at each of Grand Tours this year from 6 different riders and all delivered with such a passion to ride for each other. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating – they are a joy to watch in full flow.
I’ll leave the last word to the victor, he nails the reason with a cherry on the top!
Diminishing Dimension Data
Today saw Omar Fraile succumb to the stomach bug that has swept through the team in the past week.
This leaves Africa’s team with just three riders. It’s no laughing matter of course, but this exchange made me smile, and I LOVE the story about Nic Dougall the saviour of rabbits.
We’re all rooting for you guys!
Singing in the bunch
You know it’s a long stage with little action when this happens. Take it away Edward Theuns and Trek-Segafredo.
Top 5 stage
1 Matteo Trentin (Quick Step Floors) 4:25:13
2 Gianni Moscon (Sky) same time
3 Soren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb) same time
4 Michael Schwarzmann (BORA-hansgrohe) s/t
5 Tom Van Asbroeck (Cannondale-Drapac) s/t
Top 5 GC
1 Chris Froome (Sky) 53:48:06
2 Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) +0:59
3 Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott) +2.13
4 Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb) +2.17
5 Davide de la Cruz (Quick-Step) +2.23
All the jerseys
Leader: Chris Froome (Sky)
Points: Matteo Trentin
KOM: Davide Villella (Cannondale-Drapac)
Combined: Chris Froome (Sky)
Team Classification: Astana
Most Aggressive Rider: Thomas de Gendt (Lotto Soudal)
Header image: Matteo Trentin © Tim de Waele/Corbis via Getty Images