Jul 11, 2023 at 7:00 PMUpdate: a minute ago
Fabio Jakobsen had a tough day in the Tour de France on Tuesday. The top sprinter rode in a small group far behind the peloton for almost the entire stage and that led to serious doubts.
After more than four hours of suffering in the heat of the Massif Central, Jakobsen sits down on the steps of the Soudal Quick-Step team bus. “Gosh, I’m glad I’m here,” he says after a deep sigh. “I’m pretty empty. There wasn’t much in it today.”
With the help of his teammates Michael Mørkøv and Dries Devenyns – and the Lotto Dstny trio Caleb Ewan, Frederik Frison and Florian Vermeersch – the 26-year-old Dutchman crossed the line in Issoire 34 minutes after winner Pello Bilbao. The six came in ten minutes before the time limit, but that was actually the only positive point of the hilly ride.
“It should be clear that I didn’t digest the rest day as well as the rest of the peloton,” says Jakobsen. “Why is that? I have no idea. On a day like this I’m going to doubt everything. My preparation for the Tour, my training program, the food and drink along the way. On days like this I even doubt whether I’m going to Tour at all worthy.”
Can Jakobsen sprint in the Tour on Wednesday?
Jakobsen knew right after the start in Vulcania amusement park that he would be faced with a tough test. “On the first climb I just had to get off. I kind of came back in the peloton, but on the second climb I exploded completely. And then you’re chasing the facts with Ewan all day. Yes, it was a shit day.”
De Gelderlander is still recovering from his heavy crash in the fourth stage of last Tuesday. The fact that temperatures went towards 40 degrees Celsius on Tuesday did not help either.
Still, Jakobsen hoped for a good day before the start of the stage. “But I knew that this could also happen. Then it is a matter of riding on feeling, pedaling as hard as you can and eating and drinking enough.”
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The front was driven at a high pace all day. “That doesn’t have to be a disadvantage for me if I just end up in a large group,” says Jakobsen. “But I’m not good enough for that at the moment. I was lucky that Ewan also had a bad day. So we could drive to the finish line together.”
On Wednesday there is a stage for the sprinters on the program in the Tour. Normally that is a chance for Jakobsen to win a stage, but the question is whether he will be sufficiently recovered. “Tomorrow is another day. I’m going to sleep a night and then do my best again.”
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