Oh my goodness, there’s never a dull day on this edition of the Tour de France! First, the break of the day made it to the line. Matteo Trentin produced a fabulous bare-chested, tongue-lolling solo raid to give Mitchelton-Scott their fourth victory. The Italian rouleur timed his attack from a winnowed super-break to perfection, keeping his gap ahead of Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-QuickStep) all the way into Gap. Asgreen’s teammate, Julian Alaphilippe, stays in yellow for another stage. Back in the peloton, things were relaxed until tempers frayed between Team Ineos’ Luke Rowe and Tony Martin (Jumbo-Visma) resulting in both their expulsions from the race. With the Alps looming who knows how crucial this could be?
After yesterday’s blockbuster, today’s circuit races round Madrid were bound to be more mundane except, of course, for the victors. Belgian champion Jolien D’Hoore once again won the bunch sprint at the Madrid Challenge, the final race of the Women’s WorldTour, beating the in-form Coryn Rivera to the line, with Roxane Fournier rounding out the podium. A fitting finale saw Matteo Trentin take his fourth sprint victory, ahead of Lorenzo Manzin and Soren Kragh Andersen, after his team bossed the final kilometres of the Madrid circuit bringing the curtain down on a highly successful Vuelta 2017 for the team. Race leader since stage three, Chris Froome finished safely in the bunch to become the first British rider to win the Vuelta and the first ever to achieve the Tour-Vuelta double. Vincenzo Nibali and Ilnur Zakarin completed the podium.
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.