Trentin sprints into Vuelta Vacuum.

Trentin scores

This is not to slight Matteo Trentin is any way, well, not really. He has three stage wins in this Sprinter-adverse Vuelta a Espana. Chapeau, a win is a win, enjoy the cold cava.

The third win came today on a rare sprinters stage into Tomares where his Quick-Step teammates did everything right and set him up for an almost painfully easy win, the fifth victory for the Belgian outfit in the Spanish grand  tour.

It’s a slightly strange experience to watch a sprint in a a high profile three week stage race without Marcel Kittel, Fernando Gaviria, Mark Cavendish, Peter Sagan, Andre Greipel or any other star-level sprinter. They all chose to say, “non, gracias” to a Vuelta loaded with mountains and climber playgrounds but precious little for the fast-twitch crew to enjoy. It’s a famine for fastmen.

Watching Trentin and Quick-Step line it up was like watching some kind of B-team practice. Now, that’s exciting on some level as there are no sprint trains or dominant teams to lay down the order for a sprint finish.

The contenders in stage 13 were mostly spread from one edge of the road to the other, no one team strong enough to stretch out the the competition. So, exciting in one sense and underwhelming in another.

Despite the high profile absences, Trentin wasn’t exactly complaining about his free run. “On paper, it looked less hard, especially from three to two kilometers to the finish. But we decided to go for it full, the whole team, except of course for De la Cruz. The guys were incredible, it was amazing. Everybody did his job and gave everything they had, 100 per cent,” said Trentin. When the team is like this you have to finish off the work they do.”

True enough and Mark Cavendish or Marcel Kittel couldn’t have topped that level of team praise. It was fun and Trentin is boosting his next salary number. His agent must be a happy man with a new commission in mind.

The top five on stage 13 were Trentin, Gianni Moscon (Team Sky), Søren Kragh Andersen (Team Sunweb), Michael Schwarzmann ((Bora-Hansgrohe) and Tom Van Asbroeck (Cannondale-Drapac). Cracking the top ten on this pure sprint stage were skinny GC rivals Chris Froome, Vincenzo Nibali and Alberto Contador.

The Vuelta a Espana is truly a grand tour for climbers but not so grand for sprinters.


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