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European champion Matteo Trentin won the fifth and final stage of Ruta del Sol Sunday in Alhaurín de la Torre, Spain. The Mitchelton-Scott sprinter was joined on the podium by Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), who won the overall.
“I am very happy with my win,” said Fuglsang. “Our team lives a very nice moment now at the start of the season, and I am happy to bring the team the sixth GC victory in a row.”
So far in 2019, Astana riders have won the overall at Tour of Oman, Tour de la Provence, Colombia 2.1, Vuelta Murcia, and Volta a la Valenciana.
His teammate Ion Izagirre was second, and Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) finished third overall.
In the sprint for the line, at the end of 163.9km of racing on stage 5, Continental rider Enrique Sanz (Euskadi-Murias) was second to Trentin. Movistar’s Carlos Barbero finished third.
Trentin’s victory was his second of the race and the second in a row for his Australian team.
“I feel really good and confident now for the next races,” said Trentin.
Mitchelton-Scott set up the Italian perfectly for the sprint finale. Early in the day, yesterday’s winner Simon Yates made it into a four-man breakaway alongside Tomasz Marczynski (Lotto-Soudal), Antwan Tolhoek (Jumbo-Visma), and Oscar Riesebeek (Roompot-Charles). This took the pressure off of his team and sprinter Trentin.
Astana did the lion’s share of the chasing, following the day’s final climb, Alto Valle De La Vida, about 36km from the finish.
After the peloton made the catch, the remaining sprinters marshaled their lead-out trains.
“In the last two kilometers it was roundabout after roundabout after roundabout, we knew it because we checked it yesterday and I said to the guys the best way to win today is to have a clear run to the last kilometer and that’s what they did,” said Trentin.
Esteban Chaves, normally Mitchelton-Scott’s ace climber, was pressed into a team role to set up Trentin. Eduoardo Affini also played a key role in the lead-out.
“Chapeau to Affini, he was dropped and he came back and he did a massive pull to get into the last roundabout, so as a first year as a pro it was a really really good one,” said Trentin. “Also all the other guys too, when you see Chaves pulling on the front for a sprint it really is something nice.”
It paid off with a victory on the gradual uphill to the finish in Andalucia.
Trentin is expected to race next weekend at the spring classics opener in Belgium, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. Fuglsang is expected to line up for the Italian one-day Strade Bianche on March 9.