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by Shane Stokes
April 5, 2018
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Fabio Jakobsen continued QuickStep Floors’ considerable momentum this year when he clocked up yet another success for the team. The Dutchman beat Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe), Chris Lawless (Team Sky), Jens Debusschere (Lotto Soudal) and others to the line after many of the big sprinters missed out.
Several fast riders such as Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ), Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Davide Martinelli (QuickStep Floors) lost out when they were disqualified for not stopping at a level crossing. Others such as Alvaro Hodeg (QuickStep Floors, puncture with 15km remaining) and Marcel Kittel (Kastusha Alpecin, mechanical with 12km left) were also absent in the final battle to the line.
“It’s really amazing to do such a good sprint and get the win here,” said Jakobsen, a 21-year-old neo pro who also won the Danilith Nokere Koerse this year. “It’s the biggest victory of my still young career and it gives me even more motivation to work hard and keep growing in order to become one of the best sprinters in the world and fight for stage wins in all three Grand Tours. I couldn’t have pulled it off without the incredible support of my teammates, so a massive thanks goes to them.”
The 2018 edition of the race took place on a modified route. Beginning in Terneuzen, the Netherlands, high winds were anticipated and the exposed roads saw echelons being formed. While Kittel was isolated at one point, teammate Tony Martin helped him get back into position.
Early on five riders got clear – Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Jonas Rickaert (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Sean De Bie (Lotto-Soudal), Alexander Cataford (United Healthcare) and Jan-Willem van Schip (Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij). While these were later caught, Antoine Duchesne (Groupama-FDJ) and Owain Doull (Sky) went clear with 60 kilometres left. However these were hauled back and the group sprint went to Jakobsen.