Quick-Step Floors is on a roll at the Vuelta a España, where our team has just nabbed another stage victory, number 12 this season in a Grand Tour, a performance last attained by a squad seven years ago. After Yves Lampaert kicked off things on the second day with a beautiful solo attack in the last kilometer, it was now the turn of Matteo Trentin to finish it off and score his first World Tour victory of the season.
The day was one for the sprinters, with only a third-category climb on the course, which didn’t pose any problem to the peloton led by Quick-Step Floors’ Tim Declercq, who controlled the gap of the four-man break and made sure it didn’t go north of six minutes. Once Tim’s job was done, Bob Jungels and Niki Terpstra took over in the last ten kilometers and reeled in the last two escapees, before shutting down a late attack.
Julian Alaphilippe – a Vuelta a España debutant – then came at the head of affairs and stretched out the peloton with two kilometers remaining with a nervous tempo that didn’t allow other teams to come around and master the finale. Yves Lampaert was the last man in front of Matteo, and the Belgian made sure of pumping in the watts and keeping his Italian teammate on his wheel as he negotiated the tricky and technical final meters, before Trentin opened his sprint and emphatically powered to the line, beating Juan Jose Lobato (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Tom Van Asbroeck (Cannondale-Drapac) by several bike lengths.
After catching his breath, an ecstatic Matteo took us through the final kilometers of the stage: “We took responsibility again today and did the bulk of the work for most of the stage. Tim chased down the breakaway, then Bob and Niki protected me, while Julian and Yves brought me in a great position. I knew the last kilometer was a technical one, with several tight bends, but wasn’t worried at all about it, as I had Yves with me, who showed two days ago how good he is in such a situation. I am really happy I could repay all my teammates for their hard work and come out on top here.”
Matteo’s victory in Tarragona, where the Vuelta a España returned after four years, saw the 28-year-old set a remarkable milestone, as he joined the select club of riders with stage wins in all Grand Tours, becoming the 100th man in history to achieve this remarkable performance.
“It’s a wonderful feeling to have victories in all Grand Tours. I’m very proud to have done this in the jersey of Quick-Step Floors; I came here for a stage win and I’m delighted to get it so early in the race. We’re having a great Vuelta, everyone on the team is giving 100% in the race and we hope to enjoy many other fantastic moments in the next stages”, said Matteo – the new points classification leader – whose all Grand Tour victories came in Lyon, Nancy, Pinerolo and Tarragona, all towns with a strong Roman heritage.