Trentin comes short in London
One kilometer separated the Italian from a potential victory on British turf.
Quick-Step Floors was once again one of the teams who made an event exciting with its aggressive and eye-catching way of racing. After Clasica San Sebastian and the first stages of the Tour de Pologne, the scenario repeated at the RideLondon Classic, the UK one-day race newly-promoted to the World Tour, which Belgian legend Tom Boonen won last year.
After a frantic start, six-day specialist Iljo Keisse jumped from the pack together with four riders, and the quintet worked well together, managing to establish a four-minute lead in the first part of the 183km-long race. Once they took on the Surrey hills, an injection of pace in the peloton cut the advantage of the escapees, who were eventually caught long before the finish, with about 90 kilometers to go.
It was the cue for Matteo Trentin to attack from the peloton, a move which only two other riders could follow: Daryl Impey (Orica-Scott) and Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo). Helped by the fact the peloton got splintered over the rolling terrain, the trio got 30 seconds on the first chasing group, which included another Quick-Step Floors rider, New Zealand National Time Trial Champion Jack Bauer.
Around 40 kilometers from the finish, a regrouping took place behind the leaders, but that didn't help the bunch's cause too much, as the attackers hang onto that slim 30-second gap, which they carried into London's outskirts, where only Matteo and Stuyven remained in the lead. As the kilometers ticked down, it looked like the duo had a chance of making it all the way to the finish line on The Mall, but once the sprinters' teams assembled to the front, it became mission impossible for the two, despite the gargantuesque effort of Matteo.
Under the one kilometer arch, in the historic center of London, they got reabsorbed and the race ended up in a chaotic bunch sprint, nabbed by Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin), who beat Magnus Cort (Orica-Scott) and Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb), while Bauer was the best Quick-Step Floors rider on the line, in 12th place. Despite not getting to fight for victory, Matteo still got to make a visit to the podium, where he was rewarded for winning the sprints classification at the sixth edition of Ride London.
"When Sky started to pull hard on the small climb, I thought I would follow up on their attack, because if a small group comes over the top you can make it difficult for the pack to return to the front. So we just went full gas, but unfortunately we weren't enough riders and once the peloton began the chase it was difficult to keep them at bay. I'm sad our move didn't survive, but on the other hand I'm satisfied with the condition and the legs", Matteo explained after Sunday's race.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele