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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, October 21, 2018

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Great things are done by a series of small things brought together. - Vincent Van Gogh

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Matteo Trentin wins Tour of Guangxi stage five

Here's the report from Trentin's Mitchelton-Scott team:

After consistent top ten sprint finishes so far in the Tour of Guangxi, European champion Matteo Trentin got everything right on today’s penultimate stage to claim his first victory for Mitchelton-SCOTT and his first victory in the European jersey.

A first category climb in the final split the peloton, yet Trentin was able to arrive at the finish line in good condition to take the win the reduced sprint with Gianni Moscon (Team Sky) remaining as the race leader.

Like all four previous stages, a breakaway established with the peloton keeping control of the distance. Four riders, Silvan Dillier (AG2r), Tony Martin (Katusha-Alpecin), Pascal Eenkhorn (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Ryan Mullen (Trek-Segafredo) worked well together and rode out to a maximum advantage of over four minutes.

Race leading team, Team Sky led the chase for most of the stage and as the peloton approached the final section with three climbs in close succession of one another the leaders quickly drew closer to the bunch.

Over the final first category climb, with around 25km to go, the peloton split into two groups, with Trentin pacing himself, saving enough to be able to contest the finish.

With the effort of the climb zapping the legs of the pure sprinters, Trentin was able to show his late season form, powering down the finishing straight and to the stage victory.

Matteo Trentin

Matteo Trentin winning Paris-Tours in 2017

Matteo Trentin
"It was really good today we knew that if we did the climb hard then the top sprinters would be tired to do the sprint. Luka Mezgec did a great lead-out but unfortunately crashed, not from his fault. I am really happy because it is my first win with the team and my first win in the European kit before the end of the season.

"Let's see tomorrow, because tomorrow is similar to today so if somebody wants to go super hard on the climb again then we are going to be there again."

Tour of Guangxi stage 5 results:

1. Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 4:54:34
2. Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) ST
3. Jasper Steven (Trek-Segafredo) ST

General classification after stage 5:

1. Gianni Moscon (Team Sky) 16:57
2. Felix Grosschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe) +0:09
3. S. Chernetski (Astana) +0:14
5. Carlos Verona (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:21

Team Bora-hansgrohe sent me this report:

The penultimate stage covered more than 200km from Liuzhou to Guilin with four categorized climbs and two intermediate sprints. It was again a fast start as four riders built the breakaway of the day with a maximum gap of more than four minutes. The stage was earmarked for the fast wheels in the peloton, therefore BORA – hansgrohe focused on their sprinter Pascal Ackermann and stayed together in the main bunch, taking control over the pace. As expected the final climb caused some drama as the race split apart and with 20km to go there was a regrouping at the head of the peloton. BORA – hansgrohe was in the first group and led the reduced bunch into the finale. The German squad started their lead-out for their sprinter Pascal Ackermann but 300m before the finish, a crash in the bunch catered for more excitement and the viewers saw a chaotic finale. It was M. Trentin, who took the stage win on the line ahead of Pascal Ackermann.
Following his second place Ackermann now leads the points classification, teammate Felix Großschartner was able to defend his second place in the overall ranking.

From the Finish Line:
“Well, it would have been nice to take the victory, the team worked for me the whole day, but the crash on the last metres made the finale very chaotic. I hope no one has serious injuries. The second place was enough to take the lead in the points classification. Therefore, I am really happy and of course I will give my best tomorrow to secure it and leave the Tour of Guangxi with the sprint jersey on my shoulders.”– Pascal Ackermann

“I think, we showed a great team effort today and controlled the race together with the other teams. Erik did a great job to set the pace, Pascal was strong and handled the climbs very well. In the sprint, the team did a strong lead-out but the crash, shortly before the finale, catered for some excitement, however Pascal now wears the sprint jersey and we will try to bring it home tomorrow.” – Christian Pömer, sports director 

Sean Bennett joins EF Pro Cycling 

The team sent me this release:

EF Pro Cycling is pleased to announce the signing of neo-pro Sean Bennett. The American joins the team from Hagens Berman Axeon off the back of a “Baby Giro” stage win last summer.

In Bennett, team CEO Jonathan Vaughters sees a young rider brimming with overlooked potential. “He won a stage of the Baby Giro. He almost won a stage in the Tour of California this year, finishing second to Toms Skujins, who I would say is the guy Sean reminds me of most,” Vaughters said.

“When I called Sean up, my question was, ‘Are you a little pissed off that you’ve been looked over while other guys, like Neilson Powless and Brandon McNulty and some other high-profile U23s, have been in the spotlight? Does that irk you?’

“And he said,  ‘Yeah, it does.’

“I thought, ‘perfect.’”

Prior to the 2018 season, Bennett largely rode as a domestique. Over the last eight months, he’s had the opportunity to take on a different role. “The fitness hasn’t changed much from last year to this year, but I got to save myself for the end of the races, and I had the results to show for it,” Bennett said. 

The 22-year-old got his start in cycling as a high school freshman. He followed in his older brothers’ footsteps, joining NICA – the National Interscholastic Cycling Association that was founded in 2009 to develop an interscholastic mountain biking program for high school students across the United States.

“I had a lot of fun going to the races on the weekend. It was a really good social environment, so it was a lot more fun than just showing up to a bike race, racing and going home,” said Bennett. “It was a really great experience. By senior year, I knew I really wanted to give cycling a proper try,” Bennett added. “I thought I was competitive enough to see where it could take me, and I went all in with it.”

After high school, Bennett switched his focus from mountain biking to road racing. He raced in Europe with USA Cycling before signing up for Irish Continental squad An Post-Chain Reaction in 2016.

“I’ve had a lot of transitions and a lot of big learning curves,” said Bennett. “It seems like every year, I’ve taken a key step: transitioning from mountain bike to road, road racing in America, road racing in Europe – that was a particularly big step. The last few years have been about increasing the comfort level and confidence in Europe so that I can compete, be an active participant rather than someone just riding in the field. I think this year I’ve taken a big step being able to consistently have a role in a race and impact its outcome in some ways. I quite like doing that.”

The move to the WorldTour is the latest in a series of steps Bennett has made season-after-season. “There are a lot of unknowns,” said Bennett. “And signing with EF offered me the most knowns in a world of unknowns. Having familiar faces around me – people I know, I like, I get along with – having that will ease this transition.”

When talking about Bennett, Vaughters points to Skujins, who wore argyle from 2016-2017, and has recently come of age in the WorldTour, snagging another Amgen Tour of California win, wearing the polka dot jersey at the Tour of France and winning Tre Valli Varesine all within the last six months. 

“Tom’s story was a bit similar,” said Vaughters. “He had great results and was somehow overlooked. Sean, to me, is the exact same thing. The guy has done a lot in under-23 and pro ranks this year. But he’s one of those guys who, for one reason or another, his name just hasn’t popped as much as. He’s got a lot of fire. And I’m happy to have a young guy like that on the team next year. He knows how to sniff out a breakaway. He sprints well. He climbs well. He’s an all-around rider with really great bike-handling skills and a good nose for tactics. As the directors would say, he’s a quote, unquote racer. He knows how to win when he puts himself in a position, knows how to help teammates.”

Bennett is eager to embrace the challenge that awaits him.

“I’m most looking forward to competition at the highest level and knowing that the races I’m doing are at the top and I’m racing against the best guys in the world,” said Bennett. “I’m excited to see how I stack up.”

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