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Jakobsen claims breakthrough victory in Vuelta a Espana

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Fabio Jakobsen on the podium

Fabio Jakobsen on the podium
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Fabio Jakobsen is told he's the winner

(Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images Sport)
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All smiles for the Grand Tour debutant

All smiles for the Grand Tour debutant
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images Sport)
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Fabio Jakobsen battles for the line

Fabio Jakobsen battles for the line
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images Sport)

Fabio Jakobsen has made a dream Grand Tour debut in the Vuelta a España this week, as he edged ahead of Ireland's Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) on stage 4 for his sixth victory of the season.

Just as Bennett had won in his National Champion's jersey on stage 3, the 22-year-old followed suit on stage 4 for the Netherlands in one of the few opportunities for sprint victories in this year's Vuelta.

The Dutchman said that his victory had come after his team had corrected a series of mistakes in stage 3's finale. "Yesterday [Monday] we messed it all up, and today it all worked out."

Jakobsen said he had no idea that he had won until he was over the line, so narrow was the margin of victory between himself and Bennett.

But win he did, taking his third triumph at the WorldTour level this season just four days short of his 23rd birthday, adding his first Grand Tour win to stage victories in the Tour of Turkey - also ahead of Bennett - and the Tour of California.

"I'm just super happy it worked out, to get a victory in your country's national colours is even more special," Jakobsen said. "Winning in the Vuelta is something incredible for a 22-year-old. "

The Duchman pulled no punches about what had gone right on Tuesday compared to 24 hours earlier, saying "the biggest difference was we could use the team well.

"As a sprinter, one of the characteristics you need to have is when you lose you immediately have to start to think about the next opportunity."

"We sat down, we looked at the TV images, it was obvious we were too far back and a little bit too nice to everyone in the final."

"We had to adjust the plan and go from strength, doing it with our own team. Instead of waiting, today we were the first ones to go for it and take the initiative and it paid off. That's the main difference."

In practical terms of what the team did, "Remi Cavagna made a great late attack, I could stay well-protected behind and I was with [Zdenek] Stybar there, he's maybe the best in the world when it comes to putting me in a perfect position."

"Yesterday it all got messed up and it all worked out today. So I'm happy for the team as well as for me that it was me who won."

Defining himself as a sprinter who's "a little bit in between [Dylan] Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) and [André] Greipel (Arkea-Samsic)" Jakobsen said that unlike most fast men in sprints, who normally can tell if they've won even when the difference between winning and second is narrow, on stage 4 he had had no clear idea.

"I thought knew it, but my eyes were almost closed when I crossed the line," he explained.

"Before the line, I was first, then after line, I was not first any more, Bennett was ahead of me, but I was hoping to win."

"At this moment Bennett is one of the best sprinters in the world, he's been showing all year in every stage race he does and especially in the BinckBank Tour. But of course, a win is a win. And you want to beat guys that are strong, too."