Many riders would be pleased with a fourth place finish at the UCI Road World Championships, but after winning four stages of the Vuelta a España and with the weight of the Italian team on his shoulders, Matteo Trentin was less than satisfied with missing out in the sprint in Bergen. As Peter Sagan, Alexander Kristoff and Michael Matthews sprinted to the medals, Trentin was left shaking his head as he crossed the line.
"I know fourth is a good result but when you know you have good legs, it's a big disappointment," Trentin told Cyclingnews.
"I'll be honest, I don't think I could have fought for the win. When Sagan and Kristoff opened up their sprint, they distanced us all. But I had the legs to go for bronze against Matthews and missing out is hard to take."
Italy was one of the dominant teams in the race, marking all the moves when the early breakaway came back, with Alessandro De Marchi marking a move with three laps to go, then Gianni Moscon bridging across to a dangerous move by Julian Alaphilippe in the final 10 kilometres. Moscon and Alberto Bettiol were there to lead out Trentin, making the result sting even more.
"I think we raced almost perfectly," Trentin said.
"De Marchi was in the important move, Moscon, despite his crash, played his cards. Bettiol chased for the sprint and I got fourth in the sprint. We showed we're a team with a capital T again, we've matured and grown in recent years and we raced well. We showed we'll soon be back up at the very top."
Trentin has shown his prowess in stage races, claiming victories in all three Grand Tours, but aside from the 2015 Paris-Tours and a win last week in the Primus Classic, he has yet to establish himself as a one-day racer. After years of service to the more established Quick-Step Floors riders, Trentin will head Orica-Scott's Classics squad in 2018 but modestly claimed he is not yet a major one-day contender.
"I've got to improve even more. Finishing fourth proved that," he said. "I was there but I need to do better. It's a starting point to improve, not a best possible result. There's work to do."