Trentin: The most nervous opening weekend of my life

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After seven seasons with Quick-Step Floors, Matteo Trentin signed a two-year deal with the Australian registered Mitchelton-Scott for the 2018 and 2019 campaigns.

Wins were coming thick and fast in his final two seasons for the Belgian outfit and moving away from such a successful team may have been questionable to some. However, the lure of a bigger role in the Classics combined with a new challenge was too exciting a prospect to turn down, and one that already shows promise.

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, 55th and 16th place respectively, don’t pay Trentin justice for the two big performances during each race. Mitchelton-Scott’s new signing was visible in both races, making it into the final selection at Omloop, as well as being part of one of the most promising breakaways during Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne.

Speaking to Cyclingnews after Sunday’s race, Trentin analysed the weekend’s action, “No results, so we can’t be happy about it, but I think we can be about the performance. I’m a little bit less [in form] than last year, but I was there when it was time to be there.

“We tried to make a sprint again for me but to be honest, it was what it was. Groenewegen is pretty much superior to anyone right now. We got boxed in a couple of times.

“On the Oude Kwaremont I was there, I made the front group, and I still got something in the sprint. It could be better, but it could also be worse.

Unlike Groenewegen, who has already racked up three wins this season ahead of the weekend’s racing, Trentin’s form was unknown following a disrupted start to his season.

The charismatic Italian was forced to delay his debut for the team after a broken rib from a crash while training, eventually wearing the black and yellow of Mitchelton-Scott for the first time at the Volta a Comunitat Valenciana.

Two more one-day races in Spain acted as a precursor for the start of the Classics, and Trentin’s first real test of the season.

“Coming into this, I got an injury just one and a half months ago, so I think I’m on the right path. My condition is the best it can be right now.”

Nervous racing and narrow roads

Both races on the opening classics weekend were littered with crashes and incidents. Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) and Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) were each involved in incidents during Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, while Sascha Modolo (EF Education First-Drapac) and Marcus Burghardt (Bora-Hansgrohe) were just two casualties on a long list of abandonments after crashes in Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne.

“It was really, really nervous, probably the most nervous opening weekend of my life.

“Everybody is just always pushing and pushing and pushing and pushing; it was the same yesterday. You know with [UCI] points and teams that want to show themselves, plus the level every year is higher and higher.

“Everybody has somebody in their team who can be part of the front group but the problem is the road is only three metres wide, so there is only space for two teams at the front. Everyone wants to be at the front; it’s just normal.

“It’s a bit too much risk sometimes, this is only the opening weekend and probably the same is going to happen in the next races.”

Joining Mitchelton-Scott

Only in his eighth and ninth race days with his new team, Trentin seemed to be working seamlessly with teammates Luke Durbridge, Chris Juul-Jensen and Mathew Hayman, each of who are already known for their Classics abilities.

With Trentin’s signing, the Australian team continue to improve and grow in stature for one-day racing and have become a key team to watch during the Classics.

“I mean it’s going really good. We’ve got a few victories [this year] but also the atmosphere in the team I really like.

“The guys and the staff did everything to make me feel part of this team. It doesn’t feel like I only joined this year, so I’m really happy about that.”

Continuing to improve

The Classics’ perennial performers of Peter Sagan, Michal Kwiatkowski, Alexander Kristoff and John Degenkolb were all missing this weekend, but have each already kicked off their seasons with multiple victories elsewhere.

Trentin’s showings at Omloop and Kuurne leave the Italian as a likely name to watch alongside the missing quartet in the weeks to come.

“It’s still three weeks until the really important races, so I’m convinced that I’m going to be better.”

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