Italian sprinter edges out hot competition to claim Stage 4 of Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana
At just 25 years old, Matteo Moschetti has already had more than his fair share of race injuries. Serious crashes in the past few seasons have left him on the sidelines and with a long road to rehabilitation ahead of him. However, Matteo never lost hope, always motivated by the ambition to beat the best and win again.
Today, Matteo was back on the top step. Here’s how he got there.
A sprint stage on paper, and with strong teams to control the racing, there was little expectation for any other result in Torrevieja. A breakaway of five spent the day out front, but they were kept on a tight leash with just a three minute maximum lead. With 20 kilometers to the finish, the escapees had all been reeled in. It was time to prepare for the sprint. The speed bubbled up as all the teams fought for the front of the peloton, sprinters looking at the stage, climbers hoping to avoid danger in the front.
A crash in the final kilometers left Matteo without a lead-out, not an ideal scenario.
Our sprinter jostled for position in the run in to the final kilometer, but didn’t panic. Other teams had extensive lead-out trains, but maverick Matteo was flying solo. Bumping shoulders through the final turn, the Italian sprinter had found the wheel he wanted. He was one of the first to open his sprint, an acceleration that thrust him ahead of the competition. At the line a bike length separated Matteo with his closest rival, plenty of space for him to raise his hand in triumph.
“This victory has a very special value. In my head there was a very strong will to do well, but the feelings of the last days were not the best. Motivation today was stronger than anything. I really looked for this win, because honestly I’m coming from a difficult period. The heavy crash in 2020, the slow recovery and a return in which I struggled to find the best condition to win and express myself at the best. Today I can put all this behind me.
Since a few days we had a fixed thought: to dedicate a victory to Pepinho. Mads did it a few days ago in France but the whole team, here in Spain too, wanted to do the same. We had promised it to us and symbolically to him. Our thought today is for Pepinho.
As often happens in days like these, when everyone expects the sprint, the tension is dominant in the group. Starting from 20kms from the finish line, when the breakaway was caught, also due to some wind, there was a palpable nervousness. Everyone was scared that the group would split. It took a lot of cold blood to manage the final and my teammates were impeccable. In the very last kms, Mosca, Brustenga and Hoelgaard led me in the perfect way. At 1.5 km to go, in a corner taken too fast, a rider caused a crash with Markus and Marc [without consequences] involved. I narrowly avoided it and joined the Intermarche train, the more organized one. At the last corner, 300m to the line, I came out on the left side of the road while the bulk of the peloton was on the right. A choice that, at the end, rewarded me.”