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Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl struggling to find winning ways at spring classics: ‘We can’t win everything’

There wasn't a Quick-Step jersey in the top-30 as pressure mounts on perennial classics favorites.

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WEVELGEM, Belgium (VN) — Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl is struggling to hit its usual winning ways so far in the spring classics.

For now, only a Fabio Jakobsen win at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne is on its 2022 classics hit list.

The Belgian team hoped to bring Jakobsen into a position to sprint for the victory in Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday, but that didn’t work out.

The 25 year-old Dutch powerhouse’s quest for glory in Gent-Wevelgem ended during the final passage over the feared cobbled Kemmelberg climb, and he finished more than seven minutes back. In his absence, a strong Kasper Asgreen and the returning Yves Lampaert tried in vain to snatch victory in a tactical finale.

Both finished in the lead chase group, but none of the team’s riders finished within the top-30.

“We’d love to win and we’re trying the best we can. We can’t win everything,” Jakobsen said. “We did what we could today. It’s a bummer Florian [Sénéchal] crashed. He’s a man who’s capable of riding the finale. There’s still some races to come. Most of our guys are enjoying good form so it’s still possible.”

A mud-clad Jakobsen wasn’t looking for excuses when he was asked why he didn’t feature in the favorites group in the final kilometers when entering the mixed zone in Wevelgem.

“I think I did not have my best day. As a sprinter you need to be at your best here,” he said. “I struggled during the climb of the Monteberg. At the second time on the Kemmelberg I could already feel that I had trouble staying with the group. I did manage to come back.

“The last time there was the combination Baneberg and the steep side of the Kemmelberg. I almost couldn’t get to the top. I might as well have walked there. This was the maximum. Then you can’t sprint for the win. My head told me to go harder but the legs stopped cooperating.”

Gent-Wevelgem has the reputation to be a spring classic that is within reach for strong sprinters. Jakobsen didn’t feel like he was strong enough just yet.

“On a good day it’s possible for a sprinter but you can’t order these days just like that. The race was too fast. Maybe this is my level now and I just need to get stronger,” he said.

Once out of contention for the victory, Jakobsen used the final kilometers to focus on the upcoming races.

“The last 40km I rode together with Trentin, Viviani and Terpstra to get to the finish. It wasn’t a chat group. We worked well together. These guys also looked at this as additional training,” he said. “Next up for me is Dwars door Vlaanderen and the Scheldeprijs. With these legs I don’t think I can win in Dwars door Vlaanderen. I’m going to recover for two more days. This was good training and for sure we’re going to try.”