Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-QuickStep) took a birthday victory at the Vuelta a España, sprinting to his third win of the race in Santa Cruz de Bezana and strengthening his grip on what would be his first career points classification jersey.
The Dutchman, who turned 25 on Tuesday, beat Bora-Hansgrohe's Jordi Meeus and UAE Team Emirates' Matteo Trentin to the line after 180 kilometres of racing from Laredo. He jumped from the Belgian's wheel with 100 metres to go and raised his arms in celebration soon after as he took his fifth win of the season.
Jakobsen had been put in trouble on the unclassified Alto de San Cipriano climb 55 kilometres from the finish after UAE had pushed the pace at the front of the peloton. However, he made it back in with the help of his team five kilometres later, then surviving the lumpy run to the finish before completing the job.
After the stage, Jakobsen was quick to thank his team, saying that he wouldn't have taken the win without the Deceuninck-QuickStep 'Wolfpack'.
"A birthday is always a good day but I'm over the moon with this win," he said. "I think what we saw today is the Wolfpack.
"I was dropped on the climb, the guys waited for me, brought me back and I won the race. It was all because of them. The only thing I could do was do a short, fast sprint. They did everything else today."
Jakobsen, who now lies secure in the green jersey on 250 points to Trentin's second-placed haul of 123 points, also thanked several people who helped him on the road to recovery from his career-threatening crash at last year's Tour de Pologne.
"I'm never confident but I always try. If you don't try you never win, so I'm really happy," he said.
"Also, I'd like to take this moment on my third victory to thank three people that were really important in my recovery. Professor Meyer from Nijmegen hospital, Yvan Vanmol my doctor at the team, and my osteopath Cor van Wanrooij for my recovery. I'd like to thank those three. I love you all and this is for you."
Five stages of the Vuelta remain before the race draws to a close with Sunday's time trial in Santiago de Compostela.
Jakobsen has a potential final chance to add to his stage win tally on stage 19 in Monforte de Lemos, but will otherwise face the relatively simple task of surviving the remaining three mountain stages in order to make it to the finish in green.
Daniel joined Cyclingnews as staff writer in 2019 after working as a freelancer around pro cycling media for the previous seven years.
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