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Jakobsen repeats opening stage win at star-studded Algarve

The Dutch champion wins for the second time this season, to deny Viviani and Trentin, in bunch sprint to open five-day race, in Portugal.

Fabio Jakobsen kept the Deceuninck-Quick-Step ball rolling after kicking to victory in the opening stage of the 46th Volta ao Algarve. The flying Dutchman won the opening stage last year as well, and takes the first leader’s jersey Wednesday in the star-studded field in the five-day Portuguese race.

Jakobsen denied Elia Viviani (Cofidis) of his first victory of the season, with Matteo Trentin (CCC Team) and Alexander Kristoff (UAE-Emirates) rolling through third and fourth, respectively. The reigning Dutch national champion won a stage at the Volta Cyclist a Valenciana last week, and is building on momentum of his breakout 2019 season which included two stage wins at the Vuelta a España, and Scheldeprijs.

The victory is already the eighth for Deceuninck-Quick-Step on the 2020 season, and the self-styled “Wolfpack” worked hard to control an early breakaway in the hilly 195km stage from Portimao to Lagos, to set up the mass gallop. The team keeps winning bunch sprints despite losing Viviani to Cofidis in the off-season, and Fernando Gaviria to UAE-Emirates last season.

“I like the finish here in Lagos, it’s a straight line and you have enough space. So if you’ve got the legs, you can nab the win. I had them today, but most importantly, I had an amazing team around me, who controlled all the attacks on that short and steep climb and helped me hang in there, before putting me in position with the line in sight,” said Jakobsen.

Deceuninck-Quick-Step will keep punching the accelerator in Thursday’s 183m second stage, with an uphill finale at Alto da Fóia. Remco Evenepoel, a winner at the Tour de San Juan, is hoping to be able to fend off the pure climbers in the steep finish. Last year, Tadej Pogacar won the stage en route to winning the overall title. Pogacar isn’t racing in Algarve this year, and will line up at the UAE Tour next week.

The Algarve race is seeing a quality field, with Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team), Philippe Gilbert (Lotto-Soudal), and Vincenzo Nibali, making his season debut in Trek-Segafredo colors.

Among the top names racing this week in southern Portugal is 2018 Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas, who is also making his season debut with Team Ineos.

“I want to get stuck into a good five days of racing,” Thomas said before the start. “There are a lot of guys in our team who have already done at least a week of racing—Rohan, Dylan, Kwiato—and they’re targeting early races and going really well. I’ll be there to give them a hand, and should still be up there but I won’t be going for the win. I’ll be helping the other boys in that regard. It’ll be nice to be affecting a race again.”

Stage 1
1. Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck–Quick-Step): 4:55:37
2. Elia Viviani (Cofidis): S.T.
3. Matteo Trentin (CCC Team): S.T.

General Classification
1. Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck–Quick-Step): 4:55:37
2. Elia Viviani (Cofidis): S.T.
3. Matteo Trentin (CCC Team): S.T.