Matteo Trentin takes the spoils on Tour de l’Ain opening day
A perfectly-timed sprint catapulted the Italian to first place on the stage and into the overall lead.
Just a few days after turning 27, Matteo Trentin got himself a nice present by winning stage 1 of the Tour de l'Ain, the only one suited to sprinters at this 28th edition, and donning the yellow jersey. The inaugural day of the French race (La Plaine Tonique – Saint-Vulbas, 149.6 kilometers) got underway in usual fashion with a breakaway of three – Alexandre Geniez (FDJ), Arnaud Gerard (Fortuneo-Vital Concept) and Thomas Voeckler (Direct Energie) – pulling clear right after the start.
Once their advantage crossed the 3-minute barrier, Etixx – Quick-Step hit the forefront and took command of the peloton, clawing back time with the help of AG2R and Lotto-Soudal. With 80 kilometers to go, the deficit was reduced to two minutes, and the trend continued as the stage progressed. By the time the riders entered on the local circuit, only 30 seconds were separating the leaders off the chasers, who eventually brought them back inside the last 10 kilometers.
Victorious in two races this season – Giro d'Italia stage 18 and Tour de Wallonie stage 4 – Matteo Trentin got himself involved again in the sprint, and although the finish wasn't quite piece of cake, he managed to overcome its tricky nature and make use of his impressive turn of speed, defeating Rudy Barbier (Roubaix Lille Metropole) and Phil Bauhaus (Bora-Argon 18) for Etixx – Quick-Step's 42nd victory of the season.
"I am very happy with this win, especially as it shows my good condition. Davide Martinelli did a great job leading me out and in the final 350 meters I entered sixth on a really long bend, from which I came out third. That was very important, as I could launch my sprint the way I wanted. I have to thank the team for the trust they had in me and for protecting me throughout the day. I hope to give it another go tomorrow, depending on how the race will unfold, and then help our GC guys in the last two stages", said Matteo Trentin, who is leading a stage race for the first time this year.
Photo credit: © James STARTT/Agence Zoom