Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) took his sixth win of the season with victory on the fourth stage of the Vuelta a España in El Puig. In doing so, the 22-year-old rider became the first reigning Dutch Champion in almost two decades to win a Grand Tour stage
Jakobsen won by the narrowest of margins, on what was the sprinters’ final opportunity on the opening week of the race. Put in a perfect position by his teammates on the straight run to the line, Jakobsen kicked out with 200 metres to go, and despite a late surge from his opponents, he held on for the win.
“It was a really tight finish and I just threw my bike to the line and closed my eyes. I found out that I had won only when I saw the guys from the team cheering. I am very happy, I really can’t put it into words. I came here to discover and learn, but I was confident I could pull it off and now I’m just savouring this victory”, Jakobsen said.
Just two riders decided to go in the break of the day, and despite gaining a five-minute maximum advantage, they were an easy prey for the peloton, where several teams worked together to keep the gap in check and bring the duo back inside the final 20 kilometres.
Rémi Cavagna (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) launched an attack six kilometres from the finish, putting the pressure on the other teams, helped also by the numerous roundabouts sprinkled along the route.
Cavagna came 1200 metres short of the biggest victory of his career, before Deceuninck – Quick-Step took command of the race under the flamme rouge with Zdenek Stybar. The Czech’s effort stretched out the field before Max Richeze emerged with 600 metres remaining – with Fabio Jakobsen tucked on his wheel – and gave a great lead-out to the young Dutchman, who dashed to victory ahead of Sam Bennett (Bora-hansgrohe).
“On Monday we hesitated a bit and at the end we were disappointed, but today we took the initiative and dominated the finale,” said Jakobsen. “Tim controlled the breakaway, Rémi showed again how strong he is, then Styby and Max provided a superb lead-out and proved again why they are some of the best in the business. I want to thank the entire Wolfpack, because without them this great victory wouldn’t have been possible.”
“It’s a sprinter’s dream to win in a Grand Tour, and for me, to take a stage while wearing the Dutch Champion jersey, is something unforgettable. I worked hard the entire year for this and today’s result gives me a lot of satisfaction. I am still young, have the entire future ahead of me, and I hope this victory will be the first in a long line of successes.”