MADRID (Reuters) - Matteo Trentin completed a hat-trick of stage wins in the Vuelta A Espana by finishing fastest in the bunch sprint at the end of Stage 13 on Friday while Chris Froome retained his overall lead.
Italian Trentin counted on the support of his reliable Quick-Step team, who picked up their fifth stage win of the race and a 15th triumph overall in grand tours this season, five in each of La Vuelta, the Tour de France and the Giro d‘Italia.
Trentin has now won six grand tour stages, his treble here adding to two Tour wins and one in the Giro in 2016.
“To be honest, the finale wasn’t to my taste. On paper it looked like it was less hard, especially from 3km to 2km to go. But we decided to go for it,” Trentin told reporters after edging out 14 other riders in the uphill sprint finish to cross the line first in Tomares.
“The guys were incredible. Everybody did his job and gave 100 percent. I had to win. When the team is like this, you have to finish off the work. It’s amazing. I came in this race with confidence but I never expected something like this.”
Briton Froome still leads Vincenzo Nibali by 59 seconds although the four-times Tour de France winner’s stamina will be tested by back-to-back mountain stages over the weekend as he looks to stay in charge of his bid to become the first rider in 39 years to win the Tour and the Vuelta in the same season.
Reporting by Richard Martin, editing by Ed Osmond