Matteo Trentin attacked from the break 14 kilometres from the finish of today’s Stage 16 of the Tour de France to win in Gap, the European champion thereby sealing Mitchelton-Scott’s fourth stage win of this year’s race and the third of his career. Julian Alaphilippe of Deceuninck-Quick Step remains in the yellow jersey on a day when there was no change at the top of the overall standings, but the big talking point was the expulsion from the race of Team Ineos road captain Luke Rowe and Tony Martin of Jumbo-Visma - head here for the full story on that.
The Italian, a top-10 finisher in seven of the 15 previous stages of the race, had been a member of a 33-strong breakaway group that got away early in today’s 200-kilometre stage from Pont du Gard, played out in searing temperatures broken only by a bid-race shower.
With three decisive stages in the Alps ahead before Sunday’s finale in Paris, the riders targeting overall victory in what is the most open edition of the race for years were happy to leave it to the break to fight for the stage win today, and were the best part of 20 minutes behind Trentin when he crossed the line.
The Mitchelton-Scott rider, whose previous stage victories came in 2013 and 2014, was one of 11 riders from the break including Olympic champion Greg van Avermaet of CCC who got away from their fellow escapees with a little less than 30 kilometres remaining of the stage.
His decisive attack came 14 kilometres out, with the Cofidis rider Pierre-Luc Perichon countering but unable to close the gap as Trentin headed up the day’s final climb of the Col de la Sentinelle with an advantage of half a minute.
By the time he crossed the summit, with 8.5 kilometres remaining, Perichon had been caught by Deceuninck-Quick Step’s Kasper Asgreen, but the Dane’s attack from what was left of the break came too late on the climb for him to close down the gap on the stage winner.
Matteo Trentin, who won his third career Tour de France stage today
It was really an emotional finish because I’ve actually only won two races in my career alone, and doing it here in the Tour de France, with this finish line, with this group in front. It was amazing.
Chris was a really big help. We spoke to each other and decided he would cover the early attacks and he did cover a lot. Then when that strong move went, I was able to follow and it was the perfect scenario.
I tried [to attack] a few times, because there was no collaboration and I knew that if I got maybe a 10-second gap and they start to watch each other, with the legs I have I can finish it off. I was a bit scared with the headwind and the guys behind taking a turn each they could have taken some time, but it wasn’t the case. When I was on top of the climb the only intention was to go full gas, taking as little risk as possible.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.