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Fabio Jakobsen downplays Tour de France conflict with Remco Evenepoel

The Dutch sprinter said team management will be making the decisions, but said 'it should be possible' to share leadership.

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Would there be enough room at Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl next season at the Tour de France for both Fabio Jakobsen and newly crowned world champion Remco Evenepoel?

The Dutch sprinter, who won a stage in an emotional debut at the Tour this summer, said it’s far too early to say.

Speaking to the Dutch website In De Leiderstrui, Jakobsen said he can imagine that Evenepoel will likely want to make his highly anticipated Tour debut while in the rainbow stripes.

“I can imagine that you want that as a world champion,” Jakobson told In De Leiderstrui. “To be honest, I haven’t thought much about it yet.

“It will become clear this winter,” Jakobsen said. “I don’t know what Remco would like, but I can imagine that you want to go to the Tour as a world champion.”

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Jakobsen was already part of one Tour selection drama in 2022 involving Mark Cavendish, so he’s unlikely to want to get into another going into next season.

Evenepoel told Belgian media this week that he’s considering his options for what grand tour he might race in 2023, but said no decisions have yet been made.

Evenepoel made history as Belgium’s first grand tour winner since 1978 when he barnstormed to victory at the Vuelta a España last month. Winning the stripes only adds more hype to what could be Evenepoel’s Tour debut in 2023.

Jakobsen was the team’s sole leader in 2022 at the Tour, and he delivered with a stage victory in stage 2. Despite making it to Paris, he missed out on another win on the Champs-Élysées.

He closed out his 2022 season with the Münsterland Giro with 13 wins on the year. With Cavendish exiting the team, Jakobsen’s spot as the lead sprinter is secure going into 2023 no matter how the Tour selection might play out.

Some look to Jumbo-Visma as an example of how a major team can find room for a yellow jersey candidate as well as a top sprinter. The Dutch outfit won the yellow jersey with Jonas Vingegaard, and three stage wins and the green jersey with Wout van Aert.

Jakobsen, who returned from a horrific crash at the 2020 Tour de Pologne to make his Tour debut in July, said the team’s grand tour leadership issues will be handled by team boss Patrick Lefevere and the sport directors.

“That’s not for me to decide. I do know that I am not Wout van Aert, so that will be difficult,” Jakobsen said. “In principle it should be possible, but what I say? It is up to the team management to map it out.

“That will start with Patrick, who will take the lead. He’s good at that, so I’ll hear about it in the winter.”