While some of his Omega Pharma-Quick Step teammates enjoyed a day riding cyclo-cross for charity at the Boonen & Friends event in Belgium, Italy’s Matteo Trentin was taking cyclo-cross much more seriously in Italy, mixing Elite level cyclo-cross racing with track riding and his usual winter road training to boost his fitness, bike skills and enjoyment on the bike.
Trentin finished 12th in the fourth race of the Giro d’Italia cyclo-cross series in Silvelle di Trebaseleghe but the bike skills and workout were far more important than the result. Trentin was the only Italian professional road racer happy to go off road even if Davide Malacarne, Fabio Aru and even Filippo Pozzato all raced 'cross earlier in their careers.
“I mix two cyclo-cross rides with two days on the track in Montichiari with some Omega Pharma-Quick Step teammates. A 'cross race is like doing a time trial effort and a points race at the same time. One hour in the dirt is like doing three on the road, you’ve got to use your head and listen to your body,” Trentin told Gazzetta dello Sport.
“I’ve started 'cross riding after not doing it last year. I realised I was missing something. 'Cross helps you accelerate, brake and start again. I’m not going to win the races but it will help improve.”
24-year-old Trentin was one of Mark Cavendish’s lead-out men in 2013, helping him win five stages at the Giro d’Italia and two at the Tour de France. He got a chance to ride for himself on stage 14 of the Tour de France and won after being part of the break of the day.
Trentin revealed he will ride four races in the Giro d’Italia series before starting his 2014 season at the Tour Down Under in Australia.
Cyclo-cross in Italy is showing signs of development with growing numbers of young riders going off road in the winter. The next round of the Giro d’Italia will be in Rossano Veneto next weekend, at the home of series sponsor Selle Italia. Enrico Franzoi (Selle Italia Guerciotti) won the Ciao Armando race in Silvelle di Trebaseleghe, held in honour of former Superprestige organiser Mauro Zamprogna. Eva Lechner (Colnago-Esercito) won the women’s race.