While his team-mate Simon Yates was receiving deserved backslaps for, as Le Tour website put it “completing his Grand Tour trilogy”, I found myself sparing a thought for his team-mate Matteo Trentin. As Trentin rolled in to finish 6th on the stage I was reminded that the Italian already had a set of his own, finished off at the 2017 Vuelta.
It feels like much longer ago than that.
Because Trentin has not had a great couple of years since leaving Quick Step. Stage wins in Valenciana and Ruta Del Sol, rated .1 and HC respectively; The European Road Race title might earn its winner a pretty jersey but it isn’t yet high enough on many riders’ to-win list to feel significant.
Trentin doesn’t lack ability but is almost be blessed with too much of it. A victim of his own all-rounderness, he seems to want to win too many races and therefore barely wins any. As a result he ends up being the rider who can finish in the top ten on more types of terrain than any other.
In this season’s Classics he took two WorldTour tens (in Amstel Gold and Milan-Sanremo) and a pair of sevens (in Gent-Wevelgem and the E3).
It’s also, in a kernel container, the story of his 2019 Tour de France so far. Trentin has racked up respectable results across the so-called “pure sprint” stage of Monday, the rolling Alaphilippe-y one that Alaphilippey won last week, and today, the first proper mountain test. Not as steep as some of those to come but enough to put the likes of Michael Matthews out of the game.
It’s not exactly a problem for the Italian, but it’s easy to imagine it being a source of some frustration. He knows he can win races at the very highest level because he has.
The silver lining to it is he ends up being the perfect team-mate to have with you in a breakaway. By the final climb most of the riders left were proper climbers. They will have known that Trentin had their number in a shootout if he got there, so they couldn’t allow that to happen. Unfortunately for them that situation was precisely what created the opportunity for Yates: the punchiest climber of the lot.
Once his team-mate had gone up the road Trentin did his job as diligently as you could have asked him to. If anyone in that group had wanted to go they’d have to take him with them, and what would have been the point in that? He obviously couldn’t have chased Yates himself but a part of him must have secretly hoped someone else would.
“In a winning team, everyone has to do everything,” he told Rouleur last year. “When it’s your turn to work, you work, when the guys work for you, then the guys are going to work for you.”
Hopefully it’ll be his turn soon. Until then a few passed down pats should be some consolation. Along with one ripe and ready Top Banana.
Rouleur Top Bananas 2019:
Stage 1 – Greg Van Avermaet
Stage 2 – Tony Martin
Stage 3 – Michael Matthews
Stage 4 – Max Richeze
Stage 5 – Toms Skuiņš
Stage 6 – Geraint Thomas
Stage 7 – Wout van Aert
Stage 8 – Thomas de Gendt
Stage 9 – Jasper Stuyven
Stage 10 – Luke Rowe
Stage 11 – Emanuel Buchmann