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Fabio Jakobsen delivers the Dutch the 2022 European road race title

Dutch speedster takes victory and the European jersey after beating Arnaud Démare and Tim Merlier in Munich mass sprint.

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Fabio Jakobsen continued his standout season with victory in the European road race championship.

The young Dutchman blasted out of Tim Merlier‘s wheel in the final and held off a challenge from Arnaud Démare to top the podium over his Belgian and French foes.

Jakobsen’s victory is his 12th of the season after amassing marquee victories with Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl at the Tour de France and Kuurne Brussel Kuurne. He hands the Netherlands its first European men’s road race title of the modern era.

The Dutch team was racing in an unfamiliar white changeout kit far from its usual vibrant orange.

Jakobsen led an eight-rider rabble drawn from a range of WorldTour teams. The Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl star was quick to praise racers who are typically opponents.

“We don’t race together much as teammates, but we made a good plan and everybody did his work and put in a huge effort to put me in position,” Jakobsen said at the finish.

“Danny van Poppel [who typically races for Bora-Hansgrohe – Ed.] did an incredible job putting me with speed at the wheel of Merlier and I could come from his slipstream and pass.

“We had a really strong team to control this race and we saw the race was under control so we decided to move up just two laps from the end and then we were in position and the team kept me there until the final corner.

“Van Poppel really did an amazing job and showed he’s one of the best leadout men out there.”

Jakobsen, Démare, Merlier went one-two-three in a who’s-who of sprinters.

Sunday’s European cycling road race championships formed a part of a “mega champs” multi-sport event for 2022. Munich is hosting competition across a range of sports this month, from triathlon and rowing to beach volleyball and table tennis.

The largely flat road race parcours into downtown Munich looked a dead-cert for a bunch sprint, and the race stuck to the blueprint.

Silvan Dillier (Switzerland), and Lukas Pöstlberger (Austria) popped off the front of the peloton in the opening kilometers of the 208km trek through Germany’s sunny south and stayed out front for some time.

Home team Germany took a lot of responsibility for keeping the twosome in easy reach as it looked to set up its triple threat of Pascal Ackermann, Phil Bauhaus and John Degenkolb.

Belgium, Ireland, and the Netherlands all went into the race with top contenders and contributed to set up a bunch kick. Meanwhile Démare’s French crew and Giacomo Nizzolo’s Italian team sat in the wheels betting on a sprint showdown in after five laps of the Munich circuit.

With race radios not in use in the race, Dillier and Pöstlberger were caught relatively early, with still 26km remaining.

Belgium kept hammering on the front to prevent late attacks once the race came together before France came up en masse at 10km to go for Démare.

Without a sprinter in his team, Switzerland’s Stefan Bisseger darted out of the bunch on a tight right-hander and piled the pressure on the sprinters but was soon snuffed out.

Italy took control from therem as five Azzuri piled to the front through the out-and-back final. Nizzolo’s train lost control in the final kilometer as Dries van Gestel brought Merlier to the front for Belgium.

Jakobsen sat square on Merlier’s wheel while his future Quick-Step teammate lit up the sprint early.

The Dutchman launched out of the draft in the final 50 meters and stormed to emphatic victory. Démare moved up late but couldn’t come close and had to settle for second.

The elite European road schedule continues with the men’s and women’s time trials Wednesday. The women’s road race title will be up for grabs next Sunday, August 21.

Results will be available once stage has completed.

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