With patience that belies his 22 years of age, Fabio Jakobsen held his fire until the final hundred meters of Volta ao Algarve stage 1 to sprint past Simone Consonni (UAE Team Emirates) and win in Lagos, Portugal Wednesday.
“It’s amazing to win my first race of the season after all the training in the winter, it’s a perfect start to the year,” Jakobsen said.
Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) closed late, sneaking past Pascal Ackermann to take second place ahead of the German.
Jakobsen’s Deceuninck-Quick-Step team was early in the sprint lead-out at the end of a hilly 199.1km stage.
Two of the riders in blue took to the front to lead-out Jakobsen just after the final corner. They seemed to have the upper hand in the front group, which was made smaller by a significant crash with 6km to go.
“We trained here in the region this year and did a recon of the stage, so we knew the roads and that the small climb inside the final three kilometers was going to be hard and quite crucial,” Jakobsen said. “The boys kept the pace high there and protected me, before putting me in a perfect position for the sprint.”
The finish straight proved longer and harder than anticipated, though. The first Quick-Step rider, Zdenek Stybar, faded and was swamped by the field. Jakobsen’s final lead-out man, Florian Senechal, did his best to position the young Dutchman before leaving him to his own devices.
That wasn’t a problem for Jakobsen who expertly surfed wheels before bursting up the right-hand barriers to chase down Consonni.
The Italian had kicked off his sprint too early and faded to fourth behind Ackermann.
Jakobsen is unlikely to keep his overall race lead for long. Thursday’s stage 2 ends with a summit finish at Alto de Fóia after 187.4km of racing.