Fabio Jakobsen: “My team did the perfect lead-out today”

Dutch Fabio Jakobsen of Soudal Quick-Step celebrate on the podium after winning stage 2 of the Baloise Belgium Tour cycling race, from Merelbeke to Knokke-Heist (175,7 km) on Thursday 15 June 2023. BELGA PHOTO DAVID PINTENS
Dutch Fabio Jakobsen of Soudal Quick-Step celebrate on the podium after winning stage 2 of the Baloise Belgium Tour cycling race, from Merelbeke to Knokke-Heist (175,7 km) on Thursday 15 June 2023. BELGA PHOTO DAVID PINTENS

Fabio Jakobsen won the second stage in the Baloise Belgium Tour. He cleverly managed to outdo his compatriot and fit Mathieu Van der Poel during the traditional finish at De Wandelaar in Knokke-Heist: “When Casper Pedersen and Michael Mørkøv do a lead-out like that, I know that I can usually safely start sprinting from 200 metres.”

Fabio Jakobsen: “Entering Knokke was very chaotic with a crash to top it all off. I don’t know how the guys are, but I hope that they’re OK. There were five of us in front and it is thanks to the team that I was in such a position. All sprinters know that cycling is a team sport. I am very grateful to all the guys today. They were very strong forcing me to ride a good sprint, but it does make it a great deal easier. Today it was very important to have a team and a good position.”

Mathieu Van der Poel came on strong, making Fabio look back: “I knew that I was safe. When Casper Pedersen and Michael Mørkøv do a lead-out like that, I know that I can usually safely start sprinting from 200 metres. I did go a bit early to avoid anyone from coming to block me. So, I went a bit earlier, looked around once and saw that I had done enough.”

The European Champion also pocketed the leader’s jersey: “I hope that they have a jersey in XL for the time trial tomorrow (laughs). Tomorrow and the day after tomorrow are good training stages and Sunday will be a last explosion in Brussels. We have a strong team and are building towards the Tour de France, I think that we are on track.”

Mathieu Van der Poel had to make do with second place, he sprinted up De Wandelaar without his fallen teammate Philipsen: “We had to decide quickly and were a bit too far behind. Jasper has faster legs, and the plan was that he would finish the sprint. The preparation for the sprint was very hectic. I would have liked to have gone for Fabio’s wheel, but instead relied on our own lead-out, but we had just too far to go. It is a shame, but I don’t know if I would have beaten him otherwise. The biggest pity is that Jasper was not able to sprint.

Speaking about his classification ambitions, Mathieu added: “Tomorrow and the day after tomorrow are the most important days for the classification. First and foremost, I hope to ride a good time trial tomorrow and to subsequently still be in the front for the Durbuy stage. In any case, I felt good today.”

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Next edition from 12 to 16 June 2024

The next edition of the Baloise Belgium Tour will take place between Wednesday 12 and Sunday 16 June 2024. The stage schedule will be announced