After crashing out of Liège-Bastogne-Liège and suffering multiple fractures, Greg Van Avermaet will not line up in what was a difficult decision for the Belgian.
Sports Director Valerio Piva said the team is confident Trentin can deliver a good result.
“We know Matteo Trentin is in great form right now and will lead the team well on Sunday at Ronde van Vlaanderen, where we have our strongest riders possible to support him. Matteo raced aggressively last week at Gent-Wevelgem and showed good signs for Flanders. He has recovered well during the week and is ready and motivated. Ronde van Vlaanderen is one of the hardest races of the season and as always, there is a long list of contenders, which includes Trentin, so anything can happen. Of course, it is disappointing that Greg Van Avermaet will not be at the start line but just two weeks after his nasty crash at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, we knew it was going to be a long shot. He did everything possible to try and line up but ultimately, the risk is too great,” Piva explained.
Trentin is motivated to deliver a career-best result in his eighth participation at Ronde van Vlaanderen.
“I am feeling good. We did a nice recon today and I could turn my legs and taste the cobbles again because we only had less than one kilometer of cobbles in Gent-Wevelgem and, of course, we don’t have the usual approach with the other cobbled Classics. We haven’t had a warm up on the cobbles with all the races before but I’m still feeling ready for Sunday,” Trentin said.
“To win Ronde van Vlaanderen you need to be the smartest of the group. There are a few guys like van Aert and Alaphilippe who probably have a bit better legs than everyone else but behind, there are eight to ten guys who can win so it’s quite open. We will try to be there in the mix. In Gent-Wevelgem, the team did a really good job and these races are all about saving the legs and being fresh when the race kicks off, which is usually after the second time up the Kwaremont. I think we will see an aggressive race after that point, especially as the race is shorter this year. We’ve been racing full gas in every race and I expect nothing less on Sunday.”
Van Avermaet was faced with a tough decision when considering one last race of the season.
“This was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve had to make in my racing career. I think my heart is saying one thing and my head is saying another but at the end of the day, I know the smartest decision is to not race on Sunday. My legs actually feel really good and that makes the decision even harder because I think with these legs, I could do a good result but the risk is too high and I know I could do more damage if I was to crash again. Even today in the recon, although I was feeling good, I started to feel some pain after one hour and a six-hour race is something else entirely,” Van Avermaet said.
“I wouldn’t want to race Ronde van Vlaanderen just to make up the numbers or to finish in 50th place. It’s a race I still dream of winning but that won’t be happening in 2020. Now, I will concentrate on my recovery and give my body the best chance to heal ahead of the 2021 season.”
Ronde van Vlaanderen (18 October)
Rider roster: Jonas Koch (GER), Michael Schär (SUI), Matteo Trentin (ITA), Gijs Van Hoecke (BEL), Nathan Van Hooydonck (BEL), Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (BEL), Francisco Ventoso (ESP).
Sports Directors: Valerio Piva (ITA), Steve Bauer (CAN)