Chasing Le Tour: Trentin takes his first pro win

by Matt de Neef

With roughly 100km to go in today’s stage, the peloton appeared to decide that someone in the breakaway could have the win. The 18 riders out front increased their lead over the main field, working well together until about 20km to go. And then it was open season.

Michael Albasini attacked, David Millar attacked, Jan Bakelants attacked, Tejay van Garderen attacked. It was only when Julien Simon from Sojasun made his move on the penultimate of the day’s seven small climbs that it looked like an attack might actually stick.

But after nearly 14km at the head of affairs, and after giving it absolutely everything he had, Simon’s moment of glory was over as he was caught roughly 1km from the finish.

In the end it was 23-year-old Italian rider Matteo Trentin that flew past the sprint of Albasini to take his first victory since turning pro with Omega Pharma-Quickstep in late 2011. Trentin, a former U23 Italian national road champion, is a member of Cavendish’s lead-out train (and Cav’s roommate too apparently) but today it was Trentin’s chance to enjoy the spotlight … and his Manx teammate couldn’t have been prouder.

Trentin is the first Italian to win a stage at the Tour de France since Alessandro Petacchi won a bunch kick into Reims on stage 4 of the 2010 Tour de France. A three-year gap mightn’t sound like much, but when you consider that Italy has averaged nearly three stage wins per edition of the Tour de France so far, the tifosi are sure to be celebrating tonight.

Meanwhile, French fans will be hoping, more than usual, that it’s a Frenchman that takes the win tomorrow on Bastille Day. The home nation is without a stage win so far in this year’s race and, as mentioned the other day, that’s only happened twice in 100 editions of the race: in 1926 and in 1999.

You can be certain that an early breakaway tomorrow will be comprised of mainly French riders and when the riders hit the base of Mont Ventoux the likes of Pierre Rolland, Thibaut Pinot and possibly even Thomas Voeckler are sure to animate the race.

It’s been eight years since a Frenchman won on Bastille Day (David Moncoutie was the last in 2005) and it will take an impressive effort to out-climb the likes of Froome and Contador when the road heads up Mont Ventoux tomorrow. It’s the 15th time “The Giant of Provence” has featured in the Tour de France and only the 9th time it’s been used as a summit finish.

It’s sure to be a day of fireworks and carnage on the mountain and from what we’re hearing here in the nearby town of Nyons, the crowds up Mont Ventoux are going to be absolutely massive. Don’t miss it.

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