Matteo Trentin has signed up with UAE Team Emirates for 2021, strengthening an Italian core at the team formerly known as Lampre. After a tough 2020 season at the now defunct CCC Team, he's set to build his season around familiar goals.
The 31-year-old, who was briefly partnered with Greg Van Avermaet last season, moves on to a co-leadership at the cobbled Classics with 2015 Tour of Flanders winner Alexander Kristoff, while a bid to capture the rainbow jersey at the Worlds in Belgium is also top of the agenda.
Trentin has twice finished in the top five at the Worlds, coming closest to victory in the rain of Harrogate in 2019. There, he lost out to Denmark's Mads Pedersen in the sprint to the line, so he's determined to take the gold medal in Leuven.
"I still have an open account at the World Championships," he said from the UAE Team Emirates training camp in Dubai earlier this week.
"I hope to close it this year."
"I like this Worlds course. It's very nervy and winding. These are the roads that I like."
Before heading to Flanders in late September, though, there are other goals on Trentin's menu. First up are the cobbled Classics with Kristoff. Last year, Trentin took a career-best third place in October's Gent-Wevelgem, and that was without Van Avermaet.
Then there's the Vuelta a España, where he'll race for the third time and look to add to his four stage wins in 2017. He'll be joined there by Tour de France champion Tadej Pogačar and David De La Cruz, the team announced, with Trentin using the race to prepare for the Worlds.
He's hoping for a less arduous course than the mountain-filled 2019 route.
"My first race will be the GP la Marseillaise," Trentin said. "We're waiting to find out the route of the Vuelta. I hope it will be a little easier than last year, where there weren't many sprint opportunities. The Vuelta is a great race for those riders who like to attack and it's a good way to prepare for the World Championships."
Trentin's new team are now firmly among the strongest in the peloton after their Tour de France victory, with him and other new arrivals Rafał Majka and Marc Hirschi joining Pogačar, Kristoff, De La Cruz, Fernando Gaviria, Diego Ulissi and more as part of a strong line-up.
Trentin has quickly adjusted to life at UAE Team Emirates during their training camp, he said, while he pointed out that Hirschi's unexpected recent transfer has only added to the team's strength.
"Hirschi's arrival only adds value to the team. Now there are many teams with many cards to play, and I think it's important to have a rider like him. He can help us win.
"The first impressions with the team have been very good," he added. "The atmosphere is really good, and you can also see it with the young riders. I quickly adjusted to the group dynamic – we came here and we quickly made a team.
"I'm among the oldest riders in this team – now I belong more to the older group than to the youngsters. My goals, however, are always the same – to win and to help the team win."
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