Scheldeprijs: Jakobsen continues Quick-Step's winning streak

Rain, trains disrupt sprinters' classic

Fabio Jakobson continued Quick-Step Floors' incredible start to the season with a surprise win in Scheldeprijs on Wednesday, in reduced bunch sprint victory over Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Chris Lawless (Team Sky).

The race appeared to be heading towards a Marcel Kittel procession, with the German looking for his sixth title, but a string of incidents in the race - including a late puncture for the German - saw a number of high-profile candidates ruled out.

The main talking point came earlier in the race when a near 30-strong group containing Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) was disqualified after ignoring UCI rules at a level crossing. At that point, the bunch had split into several echelons, with both riders caught out in a second group. They tried to ride over the crossing too late and were disqualified as a result.

With Katusha and Kittel making the split it looked as though the German would take the win but his late puncture turned the race on its head. There were several late attacks, with none of the remaining sprint teams willing or able enough to control affairs.

Step forward Jakobson and Quick-Step, who wrestled control at the front of the field inside the closing kilometres. Lawless, already a victor in Team Sky colours this season, opened the sprint and looked to be heading for another win but his Quick-Step rival was simply too strong, with Ackermann coming around the British rider to steal second.

Jakobson, still just 21, but a winner of Nokere Koerse earlier this year, was asked to explain his team's dominance this season.

"I think it's because we start winning and everyone starts to believe in it. We always go for one guy full gas and that is the strength of the pack. When one person starts winning, we all want to start winning. It's amazing to be in 'the wolfpack'," Jakobsen said.

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Cross-winds come into play

The 2018 Scheldeprijs course was redesigned with a start in Terneuzen, Netherlands. Compared with the massive crowds in Mol last year, the fans didn’t find the way to Terneuzen on Wednesday. The first 100 kilometres through the flatlands in the Zeeland region didn’t disappoint. Grey clouds and a strong wind resulted in proper racing. Most roads connecting two villages were placed on top of a dyke, leaving the riders battling against the wind.

Unsurprisingly, on countless occasions, echelons were formed. Top favourite Marcel Kittel ended up at the back of the race when he punctured. Thanks to the support of Tony Martin, he managed to get back to the first peloton. A group of riders crashed hard into a small parked car. Among the victims were Lawrence Naesen (Lotto-Soudal), Phil Bauhaus (Sunweb), Marko Kump (CCC), Carlos Alzate, Eric Marcotte and Travis McCabe for United Healthcare.

After the first hour in the race, averaged at 48 kph, five riders escaped the peloton. They were Jan-Willem van Schip (Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij), Sean De Bie (Lotto-Soudal), Jonas Rickaert (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Alexander Cataford (United Healthcare).

Groenewegen and Démare disqualified

The five leaders collected more than three minutes on the peloton but at the 100km mark, racing again kicked off in the peloton. In Krabbendijke, the first echelon safely passed through a train crossing. A second peloton of about 35 riders, led by French champion Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ), ignored the lights and lowering barriers. A third and fourth echelon stopped at the barriers. Little later, the race jury took the Démare-group out of the race. Pre-race favourite Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) was also part of this group. Meanwhile, the five leaders were caught back by the first peloton.

When entering Belgium in Putte-Kapellen, after 130 kilometres of racing, rain welcomed the riders. With the Zeeland battle being over, the race situation was more clear. At this point in the race, only 54 riders were left in the main peloton. The Katusha team of Marcel Kittel took the lead, with all riders of the team present except for Tony Martin who was part of the group that was taken out after the train crossing.

Owain Doull (Sky) and Antoine Duchesne (Groupama-FDJ) attacked the peloton in Ekeren at 60 kilometres from the finish. The duo reached the finish line to start the first of three 17km long local laps, riding one minute ahead of the bunch.

During the first local lap, it started to rain heavily when the riders reached the 1700 metres long pavé section of the Broekstraat. Katusha received support from Quick-Step Floors in order to bring the breakaway group back. With two laps to go, the gap was down to 1:20. When hitting the final lap, the gap to the two leaders was down to 37 seconds.

Finale

With Katusha stacking the front of the peloton it looked as though the peloton were willing to submit to the inevitable Kittle win. However, with just 12km the script was torn up when the five-time winner had a mechanical. He was chasing soon enough but his constant head-shaking suggested all was not well. Over the next six kilometres he chased back to the bunch but with just under seven kilometres to go he threw in the towel.

The Katusha-shaped hole at the front was filed by a number of team but several opportunists looking to escape after the Doull group was caught. With two kilometres to go Team Sky and Quick-Step traded turns on the front but Jakobson proved the fastest.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Quick-Step Floors4:23:51 
2Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe  
3Christopher Lawless (GBr) Team Sky  
4Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
5Jérémy Lecroq (Fra) Vital Concept Club  
6Maximilian Walscheid (Ger) Team Sunweb  
7Timothy Dupont (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert  
8Jonas Rickaert (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
9Bram Welten (Ned) Fortuneo-Oscaro  
10Marco Haller (Aut) Katusha-Alpecin  
11Coen Vermeltfoort (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij  
12Kenneth Vanbilsen (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
13Rick Zabel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin  
14Bram Tankink (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo  
15Matteo Pelucchi (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe  
16Maarten Wynants (Bel) LottoNL-Jumbo  
17Jan Willem van Schip (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij  
18Andrew Fenn (GBr) Aqua Blue Sport  
19Taylor Phinney (USA) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale  
20Leonardo Basso (Ita) Team Sky  
21Nicolas Dougall (RSA) Dimension Data  
22Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Groupama-FDJ  
23Mike Teunissen (Ned) Team Sunweb  
24Ruslan Tleubayev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
25Michael Mørkøv (Den) Quick-Step Floors  
26Sean De Bie (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
27Jay Thomson (RSA) Dimension Data  
28Christoph Pfingsten (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe  
29Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Soudal  
30Nikolas Maes (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:00:08 
31Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert0:00:13 
32Robert Wagner (Ger) LottoNL-Jumbo0:00:15 
33Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) Team Sky0:00:16 
34Iljo Keisse (Bel) Quick-Step Floors  
35Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quick-Step Floors  
36Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Sunweb  
37Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert  
38Brian van Goethem (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij  
39Ludovic Robeet (Bel) WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic0:00:25 
40Erik Baska (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe0:00:36 
41Jonathan Dibben (GBr) Team Sky0:00:45 
42Matti Breschel (Den) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale  
43Jos van Emden (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo0:01:07 
44Kasper Asgreen (Den) Team Virtu Cycling0:01:27 
45Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team0:01:28 
46Alvaro Hodeg (Col) Quick-Step Floors0:01:44 
47Enzo Wouters (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
48Nils Politt (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin0:01:50 
49Julien Morice (Fra) Vital Concept Club0:02:41 
50Mads Würtz Schmidt (Den) Katusha-Alpecin0:03:11 
51Antoine Duchesne (Can) Groupama-FDJ  
52Moreno Hofland (Ned) Lotto Soudal  
53Marcel Kittel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin  
54Owain Doull (GBr) Team Sky0:03:34 
55Mitchell Docker (Aus) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale  
56Alexander Cataford (Can) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling0:04:39 
57Jenthe Biermans (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin0:05:11 
58Michael Schwarzmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe0:05:14 
DSQTony Martin (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin  
DSQRüdiger Selig (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe  
DSQDavide Martinelli (Ita) Quick-Step Floors  
DSQLars Bak (Den) Lotto Soudal  
DSQDylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo  
DSQTimo Roosen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo  
DSQAmund Grøndahl Jansen (Nor) LottoNL-Jumbo  
DSQChristian Knees (Ger) Team Sky  
DSQIan Stannard (GBr) Team Sky  
DSQRoy Curvers (Ned) Team Sunweb  
DSQLennard Hofstede (Ned) Team Sunweb  
DSQArnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ  
DSQRiccardo Minali (Ita) Astana Pro Team  
DSQHugo Houle (Can) Astana Pro Team  
DSQKim Magnusson (Swe) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale  
DSQConor Dunne (Irl) Aqua Blue Sport  
DSQMichaël Van Staeyen (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DSQJimmy Turgis (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DSQMichael Carbel (Den) Fortuneo-Oscaro  
DSQFlorian Vachon (Fra) Fortuneo-Oscaro  
DSQSjoerd van Ginneken (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij  
DSQAmaury Capiot (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DSQJordi Warlop (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DSQDries De Bondt (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
DSQMathias De Witte (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
DSQKris Boeckmans (Bel) Vital Concept Club  
DSQSteven Lammertink (Ned) Vital Concept Club  
DSQWesley Kreder (Ned) Wanty-Groupe Gobert  
DSQKevin Van Melsen (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert  
DSQJimmy Duquennoy (Bel) WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic  
DSQMichal Paluta (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
DSQJonas Koch (Ger) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
DSQAdrian Kurek (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
DSQPatryk Stosz (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
DSQTanner Putt (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling  
DNFMichal Kolár (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe  
DNFLawrence Naesen (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
DNFEdvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data  
DNFJohann Van Zyl (RSA) Dimension Data  
DNFRyan Gibbons (RSA) Dimension Data  
DNFJaco Venter (RSA) Dimension Data  
DNFJulien Vermote (Bel) Dimension Data  
DNFPhil Bauhaus (Ger) Team Sunweb  
DNFTom Stamsnijder (Ned) Team Sunweb  
DNFDavide Cimolai (Ita) Groupama-FDJ  
DNFJacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Groupama-FDJ  
DNFIgnatas Konovalovas (Ltu) Groupama-FDJ  
DNFOlivier Le Gac (Fra) Groupama-FDJ  
DNFLaurens De Vreese (Bel) Astana Pro Team  
DNFOscar Gatto (Ita) Astana Pro Team  
DNFTruls Korsaeth (Nor) Astana Pro Team  
DNFTom Van Asbroeck (Bel) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale  
DNFTom Scully (NZl) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale  
DNFAdam Blythe (GBr) Aqua Blue Sport  
DNFShane Archbold (NZl) Aqua Blue Sport  
DNFAaron Gate (NZl) Aqua Blue Sport  
DNFPeter Koning (Ned) Aqua Blue Sport  
DNFDorian Godon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFGeoffrey Soupe (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFBert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFFranck Bonnamour (Fra) Fortuneo-Oscaro  
DNFMaxime Daniel (Fra) Fortuneo-Oscaro  
DNFBrice Feillu (Fra) Fortuneo-Oscaro  
DNFSindre Skjøstad Lunke (Nor) Fortuneo-Oscaro  
DNFSondre Enger (Nor) Israel Cycling Academy  
DNFRoy Goldstein (Isr) Israel Cycling Academy  
DNFBenjamin Perry (Can) Israel Cycling Academy  
DNFHamish Schreurs (NZl) Israel Cycling Academy  
DNFTyler Williams (USA) Israel Cycling Academy  
DNFAviv Yechezkel (Isr) Israel Cycling Academy  
DNFTim Ariesen (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij  
DNFElmar Reinders (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij  
DNFMaxime Farazijn (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DNFMilan Menten (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DNFEdward Planckaert (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DNFKenneth Van Rooy (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DNFElias Van Breussegem (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
DNFAidis Kruopis (Ltu) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
DNFArjen Livyns (Bel) Beat Cycling Club  
DNFZico Waeytens (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
DNFCorentin Ermenault (Fra) Vital Concept Club  
DNFAdrien Garel (Fra) Vital Concept Club  
DNFJonas Van Genechten (Bel) Vital Concept Club  
DNFTom Devriendt (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert  
DNFMark McNally (Irl) Wanty-Groupe Gobert  
DNFKenny Dehaes (Bel) WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic  
DNFFranklin Six (Bel) WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic  
DNFLukas Spengler (Swi) WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic  
DNFJulien Stassen (Bel) WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic  
DNFMaxime Vantomme (Bel) WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic  
DNFMarko Kump (Slo) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
DNFPawel Bernas (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
DNFJan Tratnik (Slo) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
DNFCarlos Eduardo Alzate Escobar (Col) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling  
DNFDaniel Eaton (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling  
DNFAdrian Hegyvary (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling  
DNFEric Marcotte (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling  
DNFTravis McCabe (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling  

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