Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott) won stage 17 of the Tour de France, being the strongest from a 33-rider breakaway group. Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-Quickstep) finished 2nd and Greg van Avermaet (Team CCC) was 3rd.
Stage 17 of the Tour de France had breakaway win written all over it. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka were up for the task and ensured when a big break of 33 riders went up the road, we had 2 riders in the move.
Edvald Boasson Hagen and Ben King were flying our colours up the road, with a very strong group that included numerous ‘big’ names. After an initial chase from some teams that missed the selection, the peloton let the escapees free and they pushed out a lead of over 15-minutes.
The race for stage win among the breakaway riders begin with around 30km to go, when they started to attack one another. The 33-rider group split as 10 riders went clear with 24km to go, and Ben King was present for us up front. Trentin was quite clearly the strongest in that group of 10 though, and he went solo just before the final climb of the stage, that started with 13km to go.
King was distanced on the climb and dropped back to Boasson Hagen’s group, as Trentin crested the final climb and descended to the stage victory in Gap. Boasson Hagen would finish in 13th for us and King placed 17th.
The peloton came home some 19-minutes down on the race winner, with the rest of our riders finishing safely in the bunch.
“It wasn’t easy to make the break, but it was rather simple. It required a really hard effort, but it was one of the first moves that went. So, anybody who was at the front, up for it and had the legs to go with it could be there. There was then one key moment, we knew the aggression would start before the final climb. Guys were trying to skip turns and save for the climb, so we knew the group might break up. Eddy and I tried to spread ourselves in the group, so we wouldn’t get caught out and could react to any splits or counters. I made it into the front when it did split and then it was about still having enough in the legs for climb. Trentin showed today he had the most left. Obviously, we are disappointed with our end result, it was a really tough and hot stage, but we gave it everything.” – Ben King