QuickStep-AlphaVinyl sprinter Fabio Jakobsen has enjoyed one of the hottest starts to the season of any rider in the peloton so far, but team boss Patrick Lefevere has doubts over taking the sprinter to next week's 'sprinter's classic' at Milan-San Remo.
The Dutch rider has already won six races in 2022, including Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne and stage 2 at Paris-Nice. Following his win at the latter, Jakobsen said he dreams of La Classicisima, but noted that this year might be too soon.
"For sure, I dream about Milan-San Remo, but maybe this year is too soon," he said. "I'm going to do Paris-Nice and then see what comes after, but the shape is there, and I feel good so if there's a spot available then, of course, I'd like to race there."
His current form is certainly in no doubt after beating Wout van Aert in Orléans, but Lefevere – writing in his Het Nieuwsblad (opens in new tab) column – said that he expects a more aggressive than usual that will make it tough for the sprinters to survive to the Via Roma.
"In the coming days we will discuss the Fabio Jakobsen issue within the team." Lefevre wrote. "Do we take him to Milan-San Remo or not? There are team leaders who think it's a good idea, but I have my doubts, to say the least.
"It's nothing to do with Fabio's talent or condition – I think that is high. But I've also seen this week how UAE Team Emirates and Jumbo-Visma race. You don't have to have studied to know how the race will be next Saturday – they will accelerate from the Capo Berta. And if they really fire on the Cipressa I don't think Fabio would survive.
"Milan-San Remo has the reputation of being a sprint classic, but in practice that's less and less true."
Lefevere noted that one of his lead directeur sportifs, the ex-sprinter Tom Steels, has said that taking Jakobsen to the race would be a good learning experience for the 25-year-old, who hasn't raced Milan-San Remo before.
"I think with seven riders at the start you don't have space for that," he wrote. "We are not thick with leaders, but Julian Alaphilippe and Davide Ballerini are in good enough shape to let us at least put the best possible helpers around them.
"Fabio himself is eager to ride, which is to his credit and which I appreciate. But my team management will have to come up with the arguments in favour."
One rider who faces a battle to get to full fitness in time for the race is Classics specialist Yves Lampaert. The Belgian is among four QuickStep-AlphaVinyl riders to abandon an attritional Paris-Nice mid-race having suffered a fever.
"At Paris-Nice there are certainly abandoning riders who think mainly about Milan-San Remo," wrote Lefevere. "The last rider you can suspect for that is Yves Lampaert.
"He has a fever of over 38 degrees. He's staying with his uncle near Bessèges and can hopefully train a bit so Milan-San Remo will be a close call for him."
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Daniel Ostanek is production editor at Cyclingnews, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later being hired as staff writer. Before Cyclingnews, he was published in numerous publications around the cycling world, including Procycling, CyclingWeekly, CyclingTips, Cyclist, and Rouleur, among others. As well as reporting and writing news and features, Daniel runs the 'How to watch' content throughout the season.
Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France, and has interviewed a number of the sport's biggest stars, including Egan Bernal, Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Mark Cavendish, and Anna van der Breggen. Daniel rides a 2002 Landbouwkrediet Colnago C40 and his favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Vuelta a España.