Scheldeprijs: Quickstep Triumphant with Jakobsen

21-year-old Dutchman Fabio Jakobsen is the youngest rider this century to win Flanders’ oldest race – Scheldeprijs – Chris Lawless third – reactions from both riders

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Scheldeprijs: Quickstep Triumphant with Jakobsen

Photo: © Tim De Waele / Getty Images

For the first time in history, Scheldeprijs started from the Netherlands and at the end of the day, after more than four tough hours in the saddle, it was a Dutch rider who took the spoils, as Fabio Jakobsen put in a flawless sprint in Schoten, outkicking Pascal Ackermann (Bora-hansgrohe) and Christopher Lawless (Team Sky), to continue Quick-Step Floors’ amazing run this month with a fourth victory in as many days.

“It’s really amazing to do such a good sprint and get the win here. It’s the biggest victory of my still young career and it gives me even more motivation to work hard and keep growing in order to become one of the best sprinters in the world and fight for stage wins in all three Grand Tours. I couldn’t have pulled it off without the incredible support of my teammates, so a massive thanks goes to them”, an over the moon Fabio said at the finish.

Chris Lawless (right in photo above) was pleased with his performance in challenging conditions: He said: “It was pretty hard all day because of the course and it was always going to be pretty tough because of the wind. It’s always got potential to split up. We had to be switched on all day. The finish circuits here are really twisty and you need to be at the front”.

“It wasn’t too bad as it was such a small group coming into the finishing circuit which made it a bit easier, a bit more relaxed – but when the rain started coming down it was just something else to just add to a difficult finish circuit. The tactics today was to go for me, but as I’m a neo pro you couldn’t completely rely on me so the lads were allowed a bit of free reign as Doull showed with his good move at the end”.

“I’ve got a bit of a break now and will aim to come back even stronger. It’s good to stay upright for a race in Belgium, after a couple of crashes earlier in the season, and I managed to finish it off!” he laughed. “If someone had told me I was going to get a podium in Scheldeprijs in my first year before I’d started [the season] I would have been happy with that and I thought it would be difficult to get a win this year too. I’ve got a bit of a break now and will aim to come back even stronger.”
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The Race
The 106th edition of Scheldeprijs will easily go down as one of the best in the history, with the crosswinds, heavy rain and low temperatures of Zeeland – the Dutch province in which the peloton spent most of the race – spicing up things and blowing the bunch apart. It took more than an hour for a breakaway to form, and when it did, the five men at the front weren’t allowed to establish a threatening gap, as several teams, including Quick-Step Floors, worked to keep them in control and cut the deficit.

Neo-pro Kasper Asgreen impressed at his debut for the World Tour leaders despite crashing earlier in the race, putting in some mammoth turns at the front and bringing everything back together in the closing kilometers, when a couple of attackers tried to apply pressure on the pack after the escapees got reeled in. Once the young Dane peeled off the front, Iljo Keisse and Zdenek Stybar took over the charge, pushing a huge tempo and stretching out the field, before Michael Mørkøv expertly piloted Fabio Jakobsen through the last corner, before opening the door with 200 meters to go.
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After starting his sprint, the 21-year-old neo-pro got boxed in, but remarkably bounced back and powered ahead, his rapid acceleration landing him a comfortable win by more than a bike length. For Fabio – the first Dutchman since 2005 to take the honours in Scheldeprijs – this was his second victory of the season, after the one in Nokere Koerse, one month ago.

“I like riding in Flanders and can’t say I was bothered by today’s conditions. The team was always around me, Iljo and Zdenek rode full gas from two kilometers to go, while all I had to do was sit in Michael’s wheel until the last 200 meters”, explained Jakobsen, who also stressed out the importance of the Wolfpack spirit, which netted 24 victories so far this season: “In this team, we work for each other and always go for the win. We are strong and determined, so when one guy starts winning, we all want to do that. That’s one of the things that keep us going.”

1. Jakobsen Fabio Quick-Step Floors
2. Ackermann Pascal BORA – hansgrohe
3. Lawless Christopher Team Sky
4. Debusschere Jens Lotto Soudal
5. Lecroq Jérémy Vital Concept Cycling Club

18. Fenn Andrew Aqua Blue Sport
41. Dibben Jonathan Team Sky
54. Doull Owain Team Sky





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