Finally the fans saw a victory from a breakaway that went the distance, and in it the gracious winner of his first Tour stage victory in the guise of Matteo Trentin. Trentin added to the huge success of his Omega Pharma QuickStep team in giving them their fourth stage victory of this year’s race.
Entering the finale it looked as if Julien Simon (Sojasun) was about to take the honour of the first French victor in this year’s race but, after going it alone over the top of the penultimate climb with 15km left, he hit the wall in the final kilometre, where many of his breakaway companions of the day bridged up to him.
“This means a lot to me. It’s my first pro victory after two years in the peloton,” said Trentin, who is Omega leader Mark Cavendish’s roommate and one of his key lead-out men.
“The Tour de France is the best place in the world to win, everyone sees you. I played it smart in the break because we did a lot of work and so I think I deserved to miss a few turns. I almost got dropped with cramp on the last climb but managed to hang on. I didn’t have time to think about the finish. [Marcus] Burghardt went with two kilometres and then we caught them. I waited because it was a head wind. Then I went at 200m out and knew I could do a good sprint. I went past Albasini and suddenly realised I’d won.”