First Race of the Season, first Win for Jakobsen

First Race of the Season, first Win for Jakobsen

Deceuninck – Quick-Step Floors Cycling Team (Portugal) - A tremendous job of the Deceuninck – Quick-Step boys on the opening stage of the Volta ao Algarve was finished off in style by the 22-year-old Dutchman.

He came, he saw, and helped by an incredible team, he conquered! Fabio Jakobsen didn’t waste any time on stage 1 of the Volta ao Algarve – at 199.1 kilometers, the longest of this edition, which took the peloton from Portimão to Lagos – notching up his maiden victory of the season, and the ninth of the team since January, following a spectacular sprint.

“It’s amazing to win my first race of the season after all the training in the winter, it’s a perfect start to the year. Both my family and the team supported me, I worked hard for this and it feels great to get a victory against so many strong sprinters and don the first leader’s jersey”, a delighted Fabio said before heading to the podium ceremony, where he collected two more jerseys – red (points classification) and white (best young rider standings).

As soon as the peloton rolled through the neutralised zone on Wednesday, five riders from local Portuguese Continental teams sparked a move and put around three and a half minutes between them and the pack, which was headed by Tim Declercq, who confirmed his “El Tractor” nickname, pulling for dozens and dozens of kilometres and making sure the gap remained a stable one.

With two insignificant climbs featuring in the first part of the course, the stage was never going to be a problem for the sprinters’ teams, who slowly made their way to the front of the bunch, bringing back both the original breakaway and the duo who attacked inside the final 40 kilometers, when it became clear that the first move of the day was all but doomed.

A big pile-up in the bunch, which occurred with seven kilometers to go, left only 30-40 riders at the front, Deceuninck – Quick-Step being well-represented there, with the likes of Yves Lampaert and Davide Martinelli, who organised the sprint train and stretched out the field going into the last kilometers. Under the flamme rouge, former Czech Champion Zdenek Stybar ramped up the pace, before Florian Sénéchal took over and provided a flawless lead-out for Fabio Jakobsen.

The Dutchman accelerated some 150 meters from the line, going past Simone Consonni (UAE Team Emirates) and easily holding off the charges of Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) and Pascal Ackermann (Bora-hansgrohe), who rounded out the podium in Lagos, which hosted a stage finish for the third consecutive year. The small group that arrived to the line together with Jakobsen contained also Vuelta a España runner-up Enric Mas, who just like his teammate, kickstarted the season in Algarve.

“We trained here in the region this year and did a recon of the stage, so we knew the roads and that the small climb inside the final three kilometers was going to be hard and quite crucial. The boys kept the pace high there and protected me, before putting me in a perfect position for the sprint. This result motivates us even more and hopefully our great week will continue”, concluded Fabio, the 11th different Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider to win a stage at the Portuguese race since 2007.

Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele/ Getty Images.

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