Jakobsen’s Tour de France continues
Col d’Aubisque, Col de Spandelles – the only new climb on the route of the 109th Tour de France – and Hautacam awaited the riders on stage 18, one boasting over 3000 vertical meters and some excruciating gradients that made sure of pouring lead into the sprinters’ legs, already fatigued after the previous two days in the Pyrenees.
Fully aware of the many obstacles spread over the course, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl went for a different approach in the first 50 kilometers, until the bottom of the Aubisque, chasing down every breakaway attempt and keeping things together, thus making sure Fabio Jakobsen would remain in the pack until the first-category climb, one of the most visited in the history of the race. There, the Wolfpack set the tempo on the early ramps, further allowing the Dutchman to stay with the group, before a big change of pace coming from the GC teams altered the dynamic of the race and distanced the fast men.
As soon as this happened, Andrea Bagioli, Mattia Cattaneo, Mikkel Honoré, Yves Lampaert and Florian Sénéchal immediately dropped out of the bunch and rallied around Fabio Jakobsen, pacing him over the three climbs and making sure at all times they wouldn’t go over the control time, which wasn’t at their side as the speed at the front continued to ramp up.
An expert pace, without going into the red but fast enough to not jeopardise the day’s goal, and a remarkable fighting spirit, part of the Wolfpack DNA, saw our six guys come home with four minutes to spare, tired but with a smile on their face at the thought that what had been worst was now behind them.
“This morning I didn’t know what to expect after the previous two hard days, I didn’t know how the body would respond, but I remained calm and confident, knowing I could rely on this incredible team. We fought hard again and managed to overcome this stern test. I wouldn’t have done it without these guys. As a sprinter, you are nothing without a team, so I owe everything to this squad and I’m grateful for their effort, and at the same time, proud that I got here with them. I’m happy that Paris is closer and closer now”, Fabio Jakobsen said at the finish atop Hautacam.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele / Getty Images