Vuelta a España: Trentin triples his tally
Quick-Step Floors have won 15 Grand Tour stages this season, a performance only five other teams have attained throughout history.
Matteo Trentin and Quick-Step Floors continued their incredible dominance at the Vuelta a España, nabbing a fifth victory in 13 days and thus matching the fantastic achievements set earlier this year at the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France. After winning in Tarragona and Alhama de Murcia, now Matteo left his mark also on Tomares, a small municipality located just a few kilometers from Sevilla, one of Spain's biggest cities.
Quick-Step Floors were again at the head of proceedings in the long and hot stage 13, which took the peloton from Coin to Tomares (198.4 kilometers). Five men slipped away, but Belgian powerhouse Tim Declercq did once again a tremendous job at the front, keeping the quintet on a leash and making sure the gap didn't go north of 3:30. Declercq – a Grand Tour debutant – rode a relentless tempo at the front, and helped at times by Eros Capecchi and neo-pro Enric Mas, successfully nullified the breakaway inside the final ten kilometers.
Former red jersey Yves Lampaert then moved to the front and softened the peloton, paving the way for Niki Terpstra, who stretched out the pack before the final three kilometers, which included a small but leg-sapping uphill drag. The penultimate Quick-Step Floors rider in the lead-out train was Bob Jungels, and the Giro d'Italia maglia bianca really did some huge damage in the pack, which split under his impetus, leaving around 20 riders in the main group.
Then, stage 8 winner Julian Alaphilippe took over the same role he had on stage ten, shutting down a late attack and positioning Matteo Trentin in the technical run-in, before expertly launching the Italian, who unleashed a ferocious sprint with 200 meters to go, beating Gianni Moscon (Team Sky) and Soren Kragh Andersen (Team Sunweb) and adorning his palmares with another Grand Tour stage victory.
"To be completely honest, it wasn't a finish which suited me; what was on the road was different and harder than what we had in the roadbook. The guys were again incredible today and rode an amazing race, controlling the escapees, pushing a really hard tempo in the closing kilometers and guiding me in the final; when you have such a marvelous team by your side, a team which always gives 100%, you have to win and I'm happy for having finished off the job today", said a thrilled Matteo, who extended his cushion at the top of the points classification after his success in the Andalusian town.
Trentin – the first Italian in ten years to take at least three stage victories at a single Vuelta a España edition – also referred to Quick-Step Floors historical run this year in the Grand Tours: "I came to this race with confidence, but I wasn't expecting such an incredible string of victories. You don't see every day a team win 15 Grand Tour stages in a season and what we have done so far this year is something which will stand forever. What is even sweeter is that the race is far from being over and we'll have more opportunities to notch up other strong results."
David De La Cruz continues to be the highest-place Spaniard in the general classification of the season's final Grand Tour. The 28-year-old, who posted a podium and two-10 finishes so far since the start in Nimes, is fifth overall and will go into Saturday's tough stage to Sierra de la Pandera ready for what promises to be another spectacular and exciting fight in the mountains.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele