Fabio Jakobsen wins stage 4 of the Vuelta a España.

Jakobsen: ‘It’s a dream come true’

Fabio Jakobsen says 'it was a long way back' after his crash last year.

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One year ago, Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-QuickStep) had only recently returned home to the Netherlands after spending more than a week in the hospital in Poland. A crash on the opening stage of the Tour of Poland had left him seriously injured, with numerous fractures in his face, and he spent two days in an induced coma before he was brought back to consciousness and ultimately transferred home.

After months of recovery and multiple surgeries, Jakobsen made his return to racing at the Tour of Turkey in April. In July, he picked up his first and second victories since the crash at the Tour de Wallonie. Then, on Tuesday, he stormed to a Grand Tour stage win on the fourth stage of the Vuelta a España, marking his biggest victory yet since the incident that could have ended his career.

“It’s a dream come true,” Jakobsen said in his post-race interview. “After the crash, it was a long way back, but I’m happy I’m here.”

The road from the opening stage of the Tour of Poland to Jakobsen’s first Grand Tour victory since that crash was a difficult one, and Jakobsen made a point of giving credit to those who have supported him along the way.

“A lot of time and a lot of effort has gone into this by a lot of other people and I think this is also their victory,” he said. “I’m talking from all the doctors and surgeons and medical staff in Poland until my second family here, the team, and everybody in between. This is also their victory and my family’s victory. They are the reason I’m here.”

His Deceuninck-QuickStep teammates played a part in supporting his push for victory on Tuesday, as stage 4 came down to a high-speed sprint in Molina de Aragón. Jakobsen said that Zdenek Stybar and Bert Van Lerberghe delivered him over a late uncategorized climb, and then Van Lerberghe pulled him to the front of the pack, where he was well-positioned coming into the final curve.

From there, he jumped on the wheel of Groupama-FDJ’s Arnaud Démare, who pulled into the race lead. Then, Jakobsen launched his sprint. He said after the stage that he wasn’t certain that he would be able to come around the Frenchman.

“You never know for sure,” he said. “You always try and the team had faith from the beginning. I’m just happy I could pay them back.”

Everything worked out in the end, of course, and now, Jakobsen has the third Grand Tour stage win of his career, while Deceuninck-QuickStep has its sixth so far this year.

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