Matteo Trentin has claimed the 14th stage of the Tour de France and the first win for an Italian rider this year. A perfectly timed sprint to the line in the last 200 meters saw him win by half a wheel in Lyon.
Trentin finished the stage just in front of Switzerland's Michael Albasini, with American Andrew Talansky coming in third. The 23-year-old became the first rider from Italy to win a Tour stage since Alessandro Petacchi claimed two in the first week of 2010's.
The remarkable achievement in Trentin's first-ever Tour de France comes in only his second Grand Tour, after finishing 118th in the recent Giro d'Italia.
"I have never even sat in a press conference before, and to go on the podium and have all my teammates wait for me after ... It's a good feeling," Trentin told a news conference afterwards.
"In a breakaway with so many riders , it's impossible to control everyone," he said.
"I had [Jose Joaquin] Rojas and [Arthur] Vichot, who were behind me while I was watching other riders. But when the finish line is in sight, the only thing that matters is the strength that is left in your legs. I knew I had a good chance today," said a beaming Trentin, who turned professional two years ago.
Britain's Chris Froome preserved his overall lead and retained the yellow jersey by staying in the pack but was more than seven minutes back when Trentin crossed the line in Lyon - as were the other main contenders. Saturday's 191-kilometer (119-mile) stage began in the winemaking town of Saint-Pourcain-sur-Sioule in central France.
Froome, who lost more than a minute to Spanish two-time winner Alberto Contador on Friday, managed to not lose any more time to his main rival ahead of the next stage on Sunday - which at 242.5 kilometers is the Tour's longest, and ends with an intimidating 21-kilometer ascent of Mont Ventoux.
Froome leads Dutchman Bauke Mollema by 2:28 and Contador by 2:45.
Trentin's win caps off an excellent week for his Omega Pharma team, which celebrated its third stage win in the space of just four days on Saturday.
jr/msh (Reuters, AFP, AP)