Matteo Trentin, as his name suggests, hails from Trentino, an autonomous province in the north of Italy.
Were I the kind of lazy cliché-monger looking for a convenient hook on which to hang my five hundred word Stage 17 Tour de France output I might suggest he marries the flamboyance of an Italian with the straight laced Germanic pragmatism characteristic of the area.
I might elaborate and suggest that a bike rider from an autonomous province has the DNA to make him something of a breakaway specialist, while alluding to the fact that a boy from the mountains, sprinter though he is, can drag himself over a big hill if required.
I, of course, am not that cliché-monger.
I am simply stating facts, which happen to be clichés.
Stage 17 began with a break so big that, with thirty kilometres to go, there was a breakaway from the break. Thirty-three riders initially went up the road, leaving the Yellow Jersey and the rest of the contenders content to soft pedal (relatively speaking) through these Alpine foothills.
Temperatures in the high thirties.
Three mammoth stages on the horizon.
Let the break have it’s day.
And then, with thirty kilometres to go, ten riders went clear in the space of a few dozen pedal strokes. It was immediately obvious that the winner would come from here.Embed from Getty Images
The main breakaway quickly stranded forty-five seconds behind the breakaway-breakaway, and the peloton dawdling a further twenty minutes or so back down the road. The category 3 climb of the Col de la Sentinelle was all that stood in the way of the descent into Gap and the finish line.
Trentin, charismatic and slightly grit-teethed as ever, looked perky. Testing his legs he could see that riders around him were ready to crack. One big move and shoulders would slump. They were clearly pre-slump. Just waiting for a plausible excuse to slump.
He attacked at the base of the climb, headed alone up the road, descended without crashing, and swept into town for a classy win.
A flamboyant Italian attack. A pragmatic Germanic descent. Career Tour de France stage win number three for Matteo Trentin.
Way back in the peloton powder was being kept as dry as the brown roadside scrub. Except for a thirty second near scuffle between Team Ineos’ Luke Rowe and Jumbo Visma’s Tony Martin. Having clearly decided to have a my-dad’s-bigger-than-your-dad slanging match the pair went Alpha Male on each other.
Martin blocking Rowe. Rowe appearing to lay hands on Martin. Fellow riders busily looking the other way I-never-saw-nuffink-guvnor!
And the pair of them, post-stage, disqualified from the race.
Ineos and Jumbo Visma each a road captain down for the big finish. The conspiracy theorists quick to diagnose ‘funny business’ on the part of race organisers taken with the idea of a French win. The knobbling of rival teams being part of the plan.
Allow me to leave you with a slightly raised eyebrow and a personal promise to myself to avoid social media for a few hours.
(Top Image: Geof Sheppard [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D)