Etixx - Quick-Step rider Matteo Trentin, attacking out of an original breakaway with 9.7km remaining and the gap at 16", went on to win in a two-up sprint against race leader Edvald Boasson Hagen (MTN - Qhubeka) on Friday, in the 192.7km Aviva Tour of Britain 6th Stage from Stoke-On-Trent to Nottingham.
Owain Doull (Team Wiggins) was 3rd, and Etixx - Quick-Step rider Zdenek Stybar crossed in 4th out of the peloton that finished just 4" down on the duo. Boasson Hagen bridged to Trentin with about 2km left in the stage, and the gap at a mere three seconds. Boasson Hagen immediately pulled through to the front, and the two expanded their advantage enough to stay away and decide the stage. Boasson Hagen now leads the race by 13" over Wout Poels (Team Sky).
The victory of Trentin shows the enduring spirit of Etixx - Quick-Step, which is down to just three riders. Petr Vakoc and Fernando Gaviria both withdrew from the race due to crashes in prior stages, and Mark Cavendish also withdrew from the race on Friday due to a crash. Despite the bad luck so far for the team, Etixx - Quick-Step has won three stages and been on the podium for five out of six stages.
Stybar is now 6th in the overall, 51" down, as Etixx - Quick-Step heads into the longest stage of the race on Saturday. The 227.1km 7th Stage, from Fakenham to Ipswich, includes three categorized climbs and three intermediate sprint sections. The stage has a slight incline before the finish.
Trentin's victory is the 50th on the road for Etixx - Quick-Step in the 2015 season.
"This stage was full gas, as basically the whole race has been, from the first kilometer," Trentin said. "There as a climb at the beginning. There was a crash involving Cav and other riders, and that caused a split in the peloton. I was in the front group with 40 or 50 riders. When reached the top of the climb we arrived at a field, with crosswinds on the right side. The peloton split into two pieces this time, and riders were attacking and countering all the time. The speed was crazy with all of the attacks. Eventually there was an attack with Styby and other guys. Then when the peloton caught this breakaway, I went away with five other guys, and that became a breakaway. There was a lot of fight in the small peloton, but we collaborated really well. At a little less than 10 kilometers to go they were closing in on us, as we had Izaguirre in the group and he is a threat for the GC. At that point the breakaway stopped collaborating. So, I decided to go alone and give everything. I was hoping once the peloton caught the others, including Izaguirre, they would stop chasing as the overall was no longer at risk. That more or less happened, but then Boasson Hagen attacked and I thought 'great, now they will catch me for sure.' But I saw he had a gap to the peloton, so I kept on riding anticipating that he would jump to my wheel. He did, and then I jumped on his wheel. We managed to gain a few seconds. In the finale I launched my sprint from far. I was able to pass him and win. For me, this win is something great. It's my third victory in 15 days. I feel really good. To be able to go alone like I did and stay away, and then win in a two man sprint, it means a lot for me. I think I still have small room to improve, which can only be a good thing in the next races. I'm looking forward to the next few weeks. "
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