21-year-old Dutch rider Fabio Jakobsen took his first professional win yesterday at semi-classic Nokere Koerse which was also the fourteenth victory of the season for Quick-Step Floors.
The revamped course for the 191-kilometre race included a total of 22 cobbled sectors and eight ascents of the Nokereberg climb.
After taking the victory in the previous two races of the Belgian Cup, Le Samyn and Dwars door West-Vlaanderen, Quick-Step Floors was again in the spotlight, first by controlling the eight-man break which opened a ten-minute lead and then by infiltrating two riders – Florian Sénéchal and Pieter Serry – in a dangerous group that went clear with 30 kilometres to go.
As that move didn’t stick, the race came back together for the final ten kilometres, with Sénéchal and Davide Martinelli covering every attack, ensuring it all came down to a bunch sprint on the uphill finish in Nokere which Fabio Jakobsen duly won ahead of Amaury Capiot (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and Hugo Hofstetter (Cofidis).
“Our goal from the start of the race was to win, because we had many guys in the team capable of taking the victory,” Jakobsen said afterwards. “The course was harder this year, but that didn’t stop up from shaping and controlling the race. When Florian and Pieter went in the final hour of racing, I was in the peloton and decided to save energy in case they got caught, as I was feeling good.”
“The entire team did an amazing job today, Davide and Florian kept a high speed in the end, reeling in the late attackers, and I took the last corner on the inside, knowing this would increase my chances. On the last straight, I just gave everything and when I saw there wasn’t anyone near me, I began celebrating. It’s one of the best days of my life so far! I can’t tell you how happy I am to get my first pro win and how much confidence it gives me for the next races.”