Trentin was part of a quartet that headed onto the finishing straight ready to battle for the win and, even with another group closing in, the sprint for victory came down to those four riders with Mads Pedersen (Trek – Segafredo) eventually taking the honors ahead of Florian Sénéchal (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) and Trentin.
Earlier in the day, after an active start to the race, which saw CCC Team patrolling the front of the peloton, a seven-rider breakaway went clear to open up a maximum advantage of seven minutes 30 seconds after 100 kilometers of racing.
With the majority of the day’s cobbled and gravel sectors plus all of the climbs still to come, the bunch soon picked up the pace and by the time the race reached the famous Kemmelberg for the first time, the gap was down to inside three minutes.
A burst of acceleration at the front of the peloton on the cobbled climb saw cracks appear and with the crosswinds picking up, these small splits widened. However, Trentin had been well-positioned at the front of the field from the beginning of the day and, as a result, he was able to make the first selection with relative ease.
Approaching the 60-kilometer to go mark, after the breakaway had been caught, another nine-rider selection was made but, once again, the Italian was strong enough to go with the move as, one-minute behind, other groups started to come back together.
At the start of the third and final ascent of the Kemmelberg, traditionally the key climb of the race, with just under 35 kilometers to go, Trentin’s group grew to 17-riders strong after a smaller chasing group bridged across.
This larger group would eventually go on to fight it out for the stage win with rider after rider trying their luck and launching attacks off the front. In the end, it was Trentin who forced the decisive final four-rider move before powering towards the line to round out the podium positions.
Quotes From the Finish Line
“It was a really hard race today although we probably all predicted that. I am happy with my race overall and the team did a good job in the opening part before the first time up the Kemmelberg and I was there with good legs. I tried to attack a lot of times and even, in the end, I felt strong enough to make that final move inside two kilometers to go, it’s just a pity Mads [Pedersen] could make it back across. However, at the end of the day, the best man won and he deserved it. It was a race where the guy with the best legs would win and that was him today.”
“The final selection was really, really strong and everybody was fast so you couldn’t really predict who was going to win out of a group like that. We were all attacking each other because any move could have been the good one and actually when I worked with Mathieu [Van Der Poel] to close the gap to the group that went going into three kilometers to go, I thought my legs were maybe going to explode but in the end, I still had a little energy for one last kick.”
“It’s a nice podium result and there’s still one race to go so, I feel good and actually even though I’ve been feeling good since the restart of the season, there have been some situations where I wasn’t there to contest the victory. Today I was and even though it wasn’t a win, I proved that the legs are there and that’s what all of these Classics are about ultimately.”
Sports Director, Steve Bauer:
“We set up the tactics for today so we were all in for Matteo. It wasn’t a great race for him at Brabantse Pijl but we know he is in good shape and so we wanted to keep him out of trouble at the start. We knew it would be windy coming back from the coast and the race would start there. Once we put him into position, he rode a really smart race. He was always staying at the front of the race with the echelons and the attacks, always anticipating how the race would go and he was there in the final attacking with two kilometers to go. I think that was his real chance to win but in the end, a strong Mads [Pedersen] came back to his wheel. Overall, he rode a fantastic race. We have one week to Flanders and if he is riding this well, it gives us another shot for a great race.”
Gent Wevelgem – In Flanders Fields
One-day race: Ieper > Wevelgem (232.5km)
Top 3: 1. Mads Pedersen (Trek – Segafredo) 2. Florian Sénéchal (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) 3. Matteo Trentin (CCC Team)
CCC Team Top 3: 3. Matteo Trentin 32. Gijs Van Hoecke 53. Nathan Van Hooydonck