Cycling’s transfer window officially opened on August 1 and Trentin is the first major move at men’s WorldTour level. He also represents the first major signing for Jim Ochowicz’s team since BMC ended its sponsorship and Polish company CCC stepped in to save the team.
They lost half their roster in the process and have relied heavily on Greg Van Avermaet in 2019, but the considerable funds available from CCC owner Dariusz Milek always meant they would be able to strengthen ahead of 2020.
Having been linked with a number of riders this summer, Trentin, who recently won a stage of the Tour de France, is the first to sign. The 30-year-old will provide support, both physically and tactically, to Van Avermaet in the Classics, while also using his finishing speed to bring in victories, something the team have struggled with this season, with only four wins on the board.
"Not only will Matteo add strength to our Classics team, where he will ride alongside Greg Van Avermaet, but his versatility as a rider will make him an asset to the team. As we saw in the Tour de France, not only can Matteo sprint, but he can also climb and it was his attack on the final climb on stage 17 that led him to the impressive solo stage win," said Ochowicz.
"We were looking to boost our Classics team with a rider capable of winning and someone who could work with Greg to give the team multiple cards to play, and Matteo ticks both of those boxes. With 23 career victories to his name, Matteo has already carved out an impressive palmarès and we hope to add to that when he pulls on the CCC Team jersey next year."
Trentin turned pro with Deceuninck-QuickStep in 2012 and won stages at the Tour de France in 2013 and 2014. He won Paris-Tours in 2015 and a stage of the Giro d’Italia in 2016, before 2017 saw him win four stages at the Vuelta a Espana along with Paris-Tours again.
He left Patrick Lefevere’s team in 2018 to move to Mitchelton-Scott – where he’d have a leadership role in the Classics - but endured a difficult first season. He broke his collarbone early in the season, disrupting his Classics campaign, but there was consolation in the form of his win at the European Championships. So far in 2019 he has won four times, including the Tour de France stage where he won solo from the breakaway on a hilly stage to Gap.
“I wasn’t necessarily looking to change teams but I found myself with a good opportunity to join CCC Team. I know [sport director] Fabio Baldato and Alessandro De Marchi well, and it was the team Manuel Quinziato raced in until the end of his career, so it is a team I know well,” Trentin said.
“I think I will have more opportunities day by day with CCC Team. In the Classics, Greg Van Avermaet is always up there in every race and I am there more and more so I think we will have more opportunities together racing in the same team, rather than against each other. I’m looking forward to that next year.
“I’m still missing a victory, or even a podium, in a big Classic so I would like to achieve that in the next seasons. I would also like to target the sprint jersey in a Grand Tour. I was second in sprint classifications in the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España, and I think it’s something I can do. Of course, you need to always be up there, but I showed in this Tour de France that I was always there. I think the jersey is something I can achieve and something that would be nice to have once in my career.”
By Daniel Benson
CCC have been on the lookout for another Classics rider for some time and Trentin is the best possible option within the current market. Not only will he provide cover and act as a foil for Greg Van Avermaet in the in spring classics, but he will also be given his own chances in a string of one-day and stage races, when breaks and reduced bunch sprints will be CCC’s greatest priority.
For a team that has struggled for wins this season, the current European road race champion is a more than respectable addition. Van Avermaet will almost certainly appreciate the fact that the burden of leadership will be shared throughout the year.
Now 30, this was probably Trentin’s last chance to also cash in on a big contract, and his agent had opened discussions with several teams, including Bahrain Merida, CCC, and his current home of Mitchelton-Scott. In the spring, it seemed as though Trentin had agreed terms with CCC on a vastly improved contract that upped his basic salary from around 600,000 to 700,000 Euros. However, on the eve of the Tour it looked as though the Italian was back on the market after his agent tried to re-open negotiations.
Mitchelton were unwilling to match rival offers and, with the need to increase their rider roster for 2020, they can now spread Trentin’s salary across a number of positions, with around three new faces set to join the team.
Therefore, this transfer suits all parties involved. CCC have a proven racer, and a stash of points, Trentin receives a substantial pay rise and more opportunities, and Mitchelton can invest their funds in other directions.