Matteo Trentin wins European road race title in damp Glasgow

Matteo Trentin overjoyed as he crosses the line to win the European road race title. Dan Istitene/Getty Images

Italian Matteo Trentin became the European road race champion after an exciting sprint finish in treacherous conditions around the Glasgow city centre course.

The 29-year-old was led home by teammate Davide Cimolai who set him up perfectly for the line on the final straight to win in 5 hours 50 minutes and 2 seconds.

Mathieu Van Der Poel took silver for the Netherlands and Wout van Aert secured the bronze for Belgium as a five-man chase for medals provided a pulsating finish.

Earlier world champion and pre-race favourite Peter Sagan was forced to pull out on the eleventh lap of 16.

The Slovakian admitted he was held back by crash-induced injuries from the Tour de France and left the field open on what looked to be a course made for sprinters.

That was always likely to suit Trentin, a sprinter with the rare experience of winning seven stages on the three Grand Tours -- the Tour de France, the Vuelta a Espana and the Giro d'Italia.

And the 29-year-old took advantage, holding on with Cimolai as a 10-man breakaway was whittled down to five when Maurits Lammertink slid into a barrier on the damp road.

Trentin then rode a composed final few kilometres alongside Cimolai before bursting out of the pack and holding on for his biggest title to date.

The victory was made all the more remarkable for marking the Italian rider's comeback from serious injury -- Trentin suffered a fractured thoracic spine and spent six weeks recovering after crashing on the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix in April.

"It's unbelievable. After everything I went through during the first half of the season, really amazing," said Trentin.

"I broke a vertebrae four months ago and a rib six months ago so this is a really good comeback after all the bad luck I had," he added, after beating the two cyclo-cross specialists Van der Poel and Van Aert, who thrived in the driving rain.

"I had a chat with Van der Poel at the beginning of the race and he said, 'it looks like cyclo-cross'," said Trentin. "That's true. It was like one million corners, wet, up and down all day. They were the two to watch for the race today and I beat them."

"The crash simplified things, then in the sprint, I asked Cimolai to lead me out and he did a spectacular job, as did all the Italian team."

Trentin's victory made it a road race double for Italy after Marta Bastianelli upset Marianne Vos in a sprint finish in the women's road race.