Trentin completes Grand Tour hat-trick as Froome retains Vuelta lead
Matteo Trentin secured a Grand Tour hat-trick on stage four of the Vuelta a Espana as his perfectly timed sprint finish gave Quick-Step Floors their second win of the 2017 race.
Quick-Step tasted success on the second day of this year's race through Yves Lampaert and Trentin made his victory look easy at the end of a 198.2-kilometre run to Tarragona.
Having worked his way into a good position in the peloton going into the final kilometre, Trentin bided his time in the tricky closing sector before bursting clear of Juanjo Lobato (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Tom Van Asbroeck (Cannondale-Drapac) in the final metres.
So impressive was Trentin's finish he had time to celebrate over the line, and he was delighted to have completed his Grand Tour set - having already won stages at the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France.
"I was really looking for a victory because I'm feeling really going good into this last part of the season," said Trentin, who now leads the points classification thanks to the bonuses for winning the stage.
"After my crash at the Tour de France I was just thinking about coming here and winning stages. Two days ago we did a perfect, smart job with Yves Lampaert, and [he] took the win and the jersey. Today we decided to have my time. The guys were amazing.
"I'm really proud to win this with the Quick-Step team. I won in the Tour with them, I won in the Giro with them, and now in the Vuelta also. I'm really proud to make all these presents with this team."
Having reeled in the day's breakaway group with eight kilometres left to race, the peloton jostled for position ahead of the finish, with Quick-Step doing the best job.
They provided a perfect train for Trentin to use, the Italian picking his moment to perfection to complete his Grand Tour collection.
GOOD DAY/BAD DAY
For Trentin, being able to complete his Grand Tour hat-trick was a huge career objective ticked off and he deserved his win as Quick-Step got their strategy spot on.
The day's climbing points went to Stephane Rossetto (Cofidis), while his long-time leading partner Diego Rubio (Caja Rural) was the first man across the line in the intermediate sprint.
Meanwhile, after taking the race lead on Monday, Chris Froome enjoyed a comfortable day in the saddle as he stayed within the safety of the peloton to preserve his slender advantage.
Wilco Kelderman's day could have been a bad one after a nasty crash in the final 20km, but he was able to fight his way back and not lose any overall time to Froome.
1. Matteo Trentin (Quick-Step Floors) 4:43:57
2. Juan Jose Lobato (LottoNL-Jumbo)
3. Tom van Asbroeck (Cannondale-Drapac)
4. Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo)
5. Jens Debusschere (Lotto Soudal)
1. Chris Froome (Team Sky) 13:37:41
2. David de la Cruz (Quick-Step Floors) +0.02
3. Nicolas Roche (BMC Racing) +0.02
1. Matteo Trentin (Quick-Step Floors) 49 points
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) 31 points
3. Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo) 28 points
KING OF THE MOUNTAINS
1. Davide Villella (Cannondale-Drapac) 12 points
2. Alexandre Geniez (AG2R La Mondiale) 10 points
3. Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) 10 points
Stage five sees a return to the mountains with a route that will test from the outset with the first of four climbs coming 23 kilometres in.
Travelling from Benicassim to Alcossebre sees the route twice leave the coast and travel inland, with the latter three ascents followed by an uphill finish at 4.2 per cent gradient.