Jakobsen ready to defend Scheldeprijs title

Fabio Jakobesen will return to the scene of his second-ever pro win Wednesday when the 22-year-old Dutch sprinter takes on Scheldeprijs with his Deceuninck-QuickStep team.

Jakobsen won the 2018 race after a day of gruelling conditions had whittled the field down to a small group. He followed a lead out from teammate Michael Mørkøv to a resounding victory and became the youngest winner of Scheldeprijs this century. It was his second win for Deceuninck-QuickStep in his first year with the team after he won Nokere Koerse the month before.

The 2019 Scheldeprijs will follow a similar course to 2018, when organisers decided to alter the course and have the peloton spend more than two-thirds of the race in the Netherlands, a change that turned the 106th edition into a proper race of attrition rather than a pure sprinters' Classic.

This year, the first three-fourths of Scheldeprijs will take place on Dutch roads as the race starts from Terneuzen in the Netherlands for the second successive year before crossing into Belgium for the traditional finish in Schoten, near Antwerp. After spending 130km in the Netherlands last April, the 2019 edition of Scheldeprijs will feature some 149km of racing on Dutch roads.

The race will leave Terneuzen by way of the Western Scheldt tunnel, and the opening part of the race will see the peloton exposed to the North Sea winds that buffet the polders of Zeeland. After passing through Goes, Reimerswaal, Woensdrecht and Ossendrecht, the race will cross into Belgium at Putte-Kappellen, with 54km still to race. The race will make the first of three passages across the finish line on Churchillaan with 34km remaining.

Two laps of the traditional finishing circuit follow. On both laps, riders will tackle the cobblestones of Broekstraat before a rapid run-in to the finish.

“Scheldeprijs is flat, but this doesn’t mean it’s an easy race," said Deceuninck-QuickStep sports director Tom Steels. "Actually, it can be quite brutal and unpredictable, as for more than 140 kilometers the peloton will ride in open fields and on narrow roads, so in case of a strong wind, it could be chaos out there. That’s why you need to remain focused at all times.

"We won last year and we’re aiming again for a good result. We come here with two young sprinters who will be supported by strong and intelligent riders that can feel the race like nobody else, so we look with optimism to this challenge."

Cyclingnews will have full live coverage of Scheldeprijs, with news, interviews, tech and race galleries post-race.

Deceuninck-QuickStep for Scheldeprijs: Tim Declercq, Alvaro Jose Hodeg Chagui, Fabio Jakobsen, Iljo Keisse, Davide Martinelli, Michael Mørkøv, Florian Sénéchal


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