European road race champion Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott) tried to escape the clutches of the leading group at Milan-San Remo on Saturday by jumping away with just two kilometres to go, only to be chased down by three-time cyclo-cross world champion Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), and eventually finishing 10th.
The Italian played his card inside the final couple of kilometres, and for a moment looked as though he might have opened up a large enough gap to hold off his rivals, only to look back with just over a kilometre to go to see the canary-yellow-clad Van Aert bringing him back.
Once the front group was back together again, it was the turn of Bahrain-Merida's Matej Mohoric to try his luck with an attack, and while Trentin could then sit in the wheels while the Slovenian road race champion was brought to heel, ensuring that he'd be in the mix for the final sprint, the 29-year-old had by then burned all his matches, and had to be content with a place in the top 10.
"I was there with the final guys, and so I thought I'd give it a go on the flat and that hopefully they'd look at each other, but they didn't," Trentin said on his team's website.
"In the end, my bullet was that one, and it was gone. The legs were what they were; I was on Peter Sagan's wheel, but I think he had also used his legs earlier."
Trentin was full of praise for his Mitchelton-Scott teammates, who drew similar praise from head sports director Matt White.
"The guys rode amazingly for me," said Trenton. "I don't think I even saw the wind until the Cipressa. QuickStep then decided to ride for Alaphilippe, which was just what I wanted, and when he went [on the Poggio], I felt really strong. I could close the gap easily – if you can call it that – and then I was there [in contention]."
White added: "The team supported Matteo incredibly well, and he was able to do what he did because of that.
"We knew our best chance to win was to roll the dice on the Poggio, which happened, and a very, very select group formed over there. Then Matteo rolled the dice again, and attacked off the Poggio, and he just needed that moment of hesitation, which he didn't get, and that has cost him.
"It proved again today how hard it is to win," continued White. "It was the least aggressive Milan-San Remo we've seen in a while – probably because it was some of the best weather we've had here – and it was a big group that arrived at the bottom of the Poggio.
"But it was also the best split we've seen in a while, so it just shows that anything can happen here."
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