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Tour de France

Tour de France: Fabio Jakobsen apologizes to Groenewegen for stage 2 reaction

Jakobsen: 'Obviously I realize that he [Dylan] and his family also went through hard times. I’ve got a lot of respect for that.'

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Dutch sprinter Fabio Jakobsen won the bunch sprint in Nyborg on Saturday’s stage 2 of the Tour de France and then finished fifth on Sunday’s bunch sprint in Sonderborg. That stage was won by Dylan Groenewegen, the rider who caused the nearly fatal crash in Poland two years ago. Ever since, the two compatriots haven’t talked to each other. After the finish of stage 3, Jakobsen said he didn’t take any pleasure from Groenewegen’s victory.

After finishing in thirteenth place in Calais on Tuesday, Jakobsen rolled on and sat down on the stairs of the team bus to recover.

“The story of the race? Finally Wout was first,” Jakobsen laughed. “I managed to get over the climb pretty well. I surprised myself there. He is so strong. He just rode against the peloton. In the end I no longer had the legs to fight for positioning and wasn’t able to sprint for second place. This course is still a bit too hard for me.” Jakobsen told Velonews and NOS.

“Actually, I want to come back to something I said yesterday [Sunday]. I said that I couldn’t care about Dylan’s victory. That was about the performance. Obviously I realize that he and his family also went through hard times. I’ve got a lot of respect for that. I was frustrated. I want to apologize for that,” Jakobsen said.

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He then returned to the actual racing topic. “Jumbo showed off great team tactics. They’ve got a super strong man with Wout. They ripped the peloton to pieces. I was in the main pack. The small group that rode in front came together with our peloton and he managed to stay away. It’s perfectly executed by the supermarket men.”

Before the start of the stage in Dunkerque Jakobsen talked about his chances for the victory on Monday. “We did a recon of the final 45km during the rest day. It’ll be a challenge with the climb at 10km from the finish. I just heard that it’s a 2:30 minute effort. Anything that is beyond 30 seconds is no longer in my favor. It’ll be tough and the legs will hurt but having nine kilometers after that is quite a bit. There might be an attack but I hope it will come down to a group sprint,” Jakobsen said.

That attack duly happened and given Wout van Aert’s strength, it turned out too difficult to bring it back.

Van Aert is clearly enjoying splendid form and he’ll be hard to beat in the battle for the green jersey. That’s a classification Jakobsen also hopes to win. While Jakobsen is wearing the green jersey as leader in the points classification, he’s doing that because van Aert is already wearing the yellow jersey as leader of the general classification. After four stages Van Aert is comfortably leading the points classification with 170 points, 61 more than Jakobsen.

Jakobsen wasn’t giving up though. “Tomorrow? I think I can go for it once again. Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne has uphill cobbles. Tomorrow is flat cobbles. Obviously we’ve got a great team for that terrain. I will not be the team leader but I hope to be the man in the group.”

You’re going for it? “Obviously. Every day is a possibility. I take it day by day, step by step. Tomorrow is another chance,” Jakobsen said, before expressing his gratitude for listening and stepping into the team bus in Calais.