Quick-Step Floors directeur sportif Wilfried Peeters was left visibly frustrated after the team came away with not even a podium finish to show for their efforts at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne. Matteo Trentin decided to make a long-range sprint from lead group, against what his team had planned, leading it out not long after the flamme rouge.
In the end, he was overtaken by all of his breakaway companions, finishing fifth out of the five riders in the move. "It was a little bit of a joke what we did for the final sprint. When you start your sprint at 750 metres to go then you take a little bit of a risk that someone comes from behind and wins and that's what happened today," Peeters told the media.
"He knows how he was feeling better than me. We told him to stay calm and wait for the sprint and in that moment he made the decision. When you do it, then you just have to go for it, and when you lose then you realise that you got it wrong.
The team was down a rider after Tom Boonen – who abandoned Saturday's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad after crashing – pulled out overnight citing stomach problems. Had Boonen been there on Sunday, Peeters says they might have played a bit more of a waiting game but his absence opened the door for the rest of the Quick-Step Floors team.
"Ok, now the other riders have a chance and I told them this morning that they have to take the chance with their two hands. Not every week that you can get chances like this," said Peeters. "I'm happy that the team is there, we had four guys out of 15 up there. We closed the gap to the lead group and we had one guy in the final, but only one guy can win ... The only mistake is going for the sprint with 750 metres."
Trentin looked at the result with a bit more of a positive sheen on it than his directeur sportif. The Italian knew that there was little chance that he could beat Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) in a straightforward tilt at the line – he estimated the likelihood of that happening at around 20 per cent – so he decided to think outside of the box, as it were.
Unfortunately, he didn't have the legs to hold off the high-flying Sagan and he crossed the line last of the five riders in the leading group. It was an all or nothing move and despite missing out, Trentin was relatively happy with how he rode.
"Today Sagan was the strongest, everyone knew, so I tried to go when no one expected it because I wanted to win," Trentin said outside his team bus. "Unfortunately, it did not work, but at the end of this weekend I can say that I am satisfied with my condition, especially since it is the first year that I am in the front on two days at Omloop and Kuurne."
While it didn't work out, Trentin proved that he could play a solid part in Quick-Step's Classics line-up. When asked what it meant for his role within the team, he joked "There is a tall guy in side and you'll have to ask him.
He added: "I know that I'm good but it doesn't mean anything. The next race is going to be important and for sure I want to improve again after Tirreno and let's see how the condition is. For now, I'm happy. I'm not 100 per cent.
"I'm probably still one-step back from being a really top rider. I'm working hard and I'm really focused and I just hope to be there one day."