The second-year pro will start his campaign in Portugal, at the 45th edition of Volta ao Algarve.
2018 was a perfect season for rookie Fabio Jakobsen, who found plenty of opportunities to shine and picked up seven victories between March and October – Nokere Koerse, Scheldeprijs (Flanders’ oldest race, where he became the youngest rider this century to surge to victory), two stages at the Tour of Guangxi, and one apiece at the Tour des Fjords, Eneco Tour and Tour of Slovakia – as well as wrapping up the points classification in China, at the last World Tour event of the year, all in all an amazing roll of achievements which made him the best neo-pro of last year.
“Last year in Calpe things were a bit quieter for me at the press conference, but things have changed in the meantime after the season I had. It’s true that I trained a lot and was confident, but it wouldn’t have been possible without a great team, the best in the world. That’s what made the difference”, a smiling Fabio said to the half a dozen journalists gathered around him during this week’s team presentation in Calpe.
The 22-year-old isn’t just a sprinter, but also a rider who has shown a lot of promise in the one-day races, as underlined by his two victories and three other top 10 placings in these events last season: “My first big moment of 2018 was Scheldeprijs, which was a hard race held in brutal weather conditions. That’s what made the win even more special and really boosted my morale. It was really cool to have so many experienced pros congratulate me afterwards.”
Having signed off the team’s final World Tour victory of the year, which capped off a brilliant season for Deceuninck – Quick-Step, Fabio is determined to show last year’s results weren’t a fluke, as he will target other races while continuing his rise through the ranks.
“The results I got last year only motivate me even more for this season, where I hope to continue my development, become faster and get more victories for the team in bigger races, against top-level sprinters. Is there any pressure on my shoulders? Yes, I feel some pressure, but it’s more or less the same with every sprinter when you’re the last man in the train and things become hectic. I am aware it won’t be a stroll in the park, but the determination, focus and hunger for victories are there”, concluded Fabio, who will make his first appearance of the season at Volta ao Algarve (20-24 February), from where he’ll travel to Belgium for Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and Le Samyn.
Photo credit: ©Sigfrid Eggers