Although it ended in a sprint, the race was far from straightforward, with a breakaway trio of Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma), Jhonatan Narvaez (Ineos Grenadiers) and Taco van der Hoorn (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) only being brought back on the finishing straight, having been part of a group that first formed about 60km from the finish.
Jakobsen fired past them while sprinting to the line, and just about held off the challenge to his left from Ewan to take victory.
With 20km to go the peloton appeared to have the race firmly under control, with a bunch sprint looking inevitable. The twelve riders left in the breakaway were within sight, and nine of them were brought back 17km from the finish.
But Laporte, Narvaez and van der Hoorn hadn’t yet given up the ghost, and stubbornly refused to be caught, and still held a lead of just over 10 seconds heading into the final 10 kilometres.
By the time they reached 4km to go with the gap still at 10 seconds, there was panic in the peloton. QuickStep-AlphaVinyl were burning through their domestiques yet making no inroads, while Laporte’s Jumbo-Visma teammates were disrupting the chase by moving to the front round the corners and slowing down.
But a final push to the line in the peloton, notably from Israel-Premier Tech, was just about enough to bring them within reach of the sprinters, and Jakobsen was able to use the trio’s slipstream to start his sprint early.
“I have to thank the team of course,” he said at the finish. “We had three guys to catch in the end, and I had to use all my teammates to even be able to sprint for the win.
“The last hour was fast and furious, but I know that I have a good sprint, so I launched it 300m to go and dove into their slipstream. Then it was just all the way to the line. I could feel Ewan come on the left, but I guess I had a good jump and I could pass the line first.
The win is Jakobsen’s fifth of the season, and continues his brilliant recovery since his serious crash in the summer of 2020.
“It’s been step-by-step since last year, especially after the crash in Poland. I had to restart almost all over again. But I had the experience and the time, so I’d like to thank the team for that also, and this is a way to pay them back. Winning is never easy, we always aim for it.
“The next races are probably Gent-Wevelgem, of course Scheldeprijs, and in my dreams I’d like to win Milan-San Remo, but I need to climb a bit better and be able to do 300k.
“My mind is also in Eastern Europe, with the people in Ukraine. There’s a war going on there, and in Belgium and the Netherlands we are free to do what we want again, go out, watch the race and enjoy riding our bikes. But my mind and my heart is with the people there, and I hope they get through this.”
How it unfolded
Just as it did yesterday during the first part of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, the sun shone on the peloton for what was the second part of Opening Weekend.
Lluis Mas (Movistar) was the instigator of the day's break, which also featured Taco van der Hoorn (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Luke Durbridge (BikeExchange-Jayco), Wessel Krul (Human Powered Health), Arjen Livyns, Bas Tietema (both Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) and Jules Hesters (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise).
That seven-man group later became a nine-man group, when the EF Education-EasyPost duo of Ben Healy and Julius van den Berg bridged up to them, making the juncture at 100km to go.
Those EF Education-EasyPost helped increase the pace enough for Tietema then Krul to be dropped, but behind the peloton were motoring along, led by Ineos Grenadiers.
Their work was enough to bring the gap down to just 30 seconds with 90km to go, until they knocked off the pace a few kilometres later — which was good news for both the break, who extended their advantage back up to over one minute, and Yves Lampaert (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl), who was able to rejoin the peloton easily after having a mechanical 85km from the finish.
The easing up of the pace prompted Rex Laurenz (Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB) to attack out of the peloton.
He was only away for a few kilometres, however, as Kasper Asgreen took control of the peloton for QuickStep-AlphaVinyl over the tough Mont Saint-Laurent cobbled climb.
After the climb was crested, Ineos Grenadiers went on the attack, with first Tom Pidcock and then Jhonatan Narvaez putting in digs. Neither went clear, but the increase in pace did reduce the peloton significantly, and bring the breakaway (which now featured just five riders after Healy and Hesters were dropped) back under one minute.
Ineos Grenadiers continued to ride aggressively on the next climb, the Kruisberg, stretching the peloton into one long line. Asgreen and then Pidcock attacked after the climb, and later another handful of riders including Nils Politt (Bora-Hansgrohe) but still no-one could succeed in going clear.
That changed on the next climb, the Côte du Trieu, when Tiesj Benoot (Jumbo-Visma) exploded out of the peloton. His attack blew the race to pieces, as a group of 16 formed behind him, then joined him 58km from the finish.
Those 17 riders were: Benoot, Christophe Laporte, Nathan Van Hooydonck (Jumbo-Visma), Tom Pidcock, Jhonatan Narvaez (Ineos Grenadiers), Matteo Trentin (UAE Team Emirates), Kasper Asgreen (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl), Stefan Kung (Groupama-FDJ), Tom Skujins (Trek-Segafredo), Damien Touze (Ag2r Citroen), Fred Wright (Bahrain-Victorious), Tobias Ludvigsson (Groupama-FDJ), Ivan Garcia Cortina (Movistar) and Kevin Vauquelin (Arkea-Samsic), plus Durbridge, Livyns and van der Hoorn, who dropped back from the original break.
Israel-Premier Tech were eager to bring the group back, putting five riders at the front of the peloton, but the group was committed, and by 50km to go had opened up a lead of 50 seconds. Only after they were joined by other teams, including Lotto-Soudal and Bahrain-Victorious, did the gap begin to whittle down, and was back under 20 seconds with 37km left to ride
At this point Garcia attacked out of the lead group, with Van Hooydonck on his wheel. Surprisingly, that acceleration saw Pidcock and Benoot drop out the back of the group, and be swallowed up by the peloton.
Trentin counter-attacked after Garcia and Van Hooydonck were caught, only for the group to reform again shortly after, now consisting of just a dozen riders.
Kung, Asgreen, Trentin and Laporte each took it in turns to up the pace around 30km from the finish, the latter temporarily ejecting Garcia, Skujins and Livyns from the group.
On a long, straight road 20km from the finish, the peloton had the break within their sights, and a committed turn from Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Victorious) helped bring them closer still.
But Laporte, Narvaez and van der Hoorn attacked before the others were caught, with what turned out to be very nearly the race-winning move.
|Pos.||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team||4:32:13|
|2||Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal|
|3||Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Arkea-Samsic|
|4||Daniel McLay (GBr) Arkea-Samsic|
|5||Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Israel-Premier Tech|
|6||Dries Van Gestel (Bel) TotalEnergies|
|7||Amaury Capiot (Bel) Arkea-Samsic|
|8||Christophe Laporte (Fra) Jumbo-Visma|
|9||Matteo Trentin (Ita) UAE Team Emirates|
|10||Taco van der Hoorn (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux|
|11||Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux|
|12||Tim Merlier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix|
|13||Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Bahrain Victorious|
|14||Mike Teunissen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma|
|15||Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo|
|16||Nils Eekhoff (Ned) Team DSM|
|17||Dion Smith (NZl) BikeExchange-Jayco|
|18||Laurenz Rex (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB|
|19||Milan Menten (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB|
|20||Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R Citroen Team|
|21||Simone Consonni (Ita) Cofidis|
|22||Alex Aranburu Deba (Spa) Movistar Team|
|23||Samuel Gaze (NZl) Alpecin-Fenix|
|24||Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Jumbo-Visma|
|25||Jordi Warlop (Bel) B&B Hotels-KTM|
|26||Michael Valgren (Den) EF Education-EasyPost|
|27||Jonas Koch (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe|
|28||Erik Nordsaeter Resell (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team|
|29||Magnus Sheffield (USA) Ineos Grenadiers|
|30||Fabian Lienhard (Swi) Groupama-FDJ|
|31||Jenno Berckmoes (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise|
|32||Anthony Turgis (Fra) TotalEnergies|
|33||Olivier Le Gac (Fra) Groupama-FDJ|
|34||Jenthe Biermans (Bel) Israel-Premier Tech|
|35||Nickolas Zukowsky (Can) Human Powered Health|
|36||Ryan Gibbons (RSA) UAE Team Emirates|
|37||Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Israel-Premier Tech|
|38||Stan Dewulf (Bel) AG2R Citroen Team|
|39||Jhonatan Narvaez Prado (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers|
|40||Bryan Coquard (Fra) Cofidis|
|41||Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Bahrain Victorious|
|42||Ethan Hayter (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers|
|43||Vito Braet (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise|
|44||Alex Kirsch (Lux) Trek-Segafredo|
|45||Antonio Puppio (Ita) Israel-Premier Tech|
|46||Nils Politt (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe||0:00:07|
|47||Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ|
|48||Kévin Vauquelin (Fra) Arkea-Samsic|
|49||Lewis Askey (GBr) Groupama-FDJ|
|50||Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain Victorious|
|51||Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) AG2R Citroen Team|
|52||Michael Schär (Swi) AG2R Citroen Team|
|53||Alessandro Covi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates|
|54||Hugo Houle (Can) Israel-Premier Tech|
|55||Guillaume Boivin (Can) Israel-Premier Tech|
|56||Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Jumbo-Visma|
|57||Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) UAE Team Emirates|
|58||Boy van Poppel (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux|
|59||Anders Skaarseth (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team|
|60||Luke Durbridge (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco|
|61||Jacopo Mosca (Ita) Trek-Segafredo|
|62||Damien Touze (Fra) AG2R Citroen Team|
|63||Fabio Van Den Bossche (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix|
|64||Luis Mas Bonet (Spa) Movistar Team|
|65||Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Bahrain Victorious|
|66||Nathan Van Hooydonck (Bel) Jumbo-Visma|
|67||Ivan Garcia Cortina (Spa) Movistar Team||0:00:14|
|68||Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo||0:00:16|
|69||Fred Wright (GBr) Bahrain Victorious||0:00:22|
|70||Thomas Pidcock (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers|
|71||Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal||0:00:40|
|72||Alexander Kamp (Den) Trek-Segafredo||0:00:47|
|73||John Degenkolb (Ger) Team DSM||0:00:52|
|74||Florian Senechal (Fra) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team|
|75||Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain Victorious|
|76||Yves Lampaert (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team||0:01:05|
|77||Adrien Petit (Fra) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux||0:01:07|
|78||Benjamin Declercq (Bel) Arkea-Samsic||0:01:09|
|79||Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo|
|80||Cedric Beullens (Bel) Lotto Soudal||0:01:36|
|81||Edvald Boasson-Hagen (Nor) TotalEnergies||0:01:51|
|82||Ben Turner (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers||0:02:49|
|83||Jannik Steimle (Ger) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team|
|84||Kasper Asgreen (Den) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team||0:03:12|
|85||Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team|
|86||Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) Groupama-FDJ|
|87||Arjen Livyns (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB|
|88||Frederik Frison (Bel) Lotto Soudal|
|89||Fredrik Dversnes (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team||0:03:45|
|90||Michael Gogl (Aut) Alpecin-Fenix||0:05:20|
|91||Edward Planckaert (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix||0:08:17|
|92||Arnaud De Lie (Bel) Lotto Soudal||0:09:31|
|93||Lasse Norman Hansen (Den) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team||0:09:55|
|94||Laurence Pithie (NZl) Groupama - Fdj|
|95||Lorrenzo Manzin (Fra) TotalEnergies|
|96||Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) TotalEnergies|
|97||Juri Hollmann (Ger) Movistar Team|
|98||Milan Fretin (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise|
|99||Casper Pedersen (Den) Team DSM|
|100||William Levy (Den) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team|
|101||Jérémy Lecroq (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM|
|102||Pierre Barbier (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM|
|103||Patrick Gamper (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe|
|104||Markus Pajur (Est) Arkea-Samsic|
|105||Jan Maas (Ned) BikeExchange-Jayco|
|106||Casper Van Uden (Ned) Development Team Dsm|
|107||Antoine Raugel (Fra) AG2R Citroen Team|
|108||Colin Joyce (USA) Human Powered Health|
|109||Eddy Fine (Fra) Cofidis|
|110||Cyril Lemoine (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM|
|111||Sébastien Grignard (Bel) Lotto Soudal|
|112||Kim Heiduk (Ger) Ineos Grenadiers|
|113||Pier Andre Cote (Can) Human Powered Health|
|114||Timothy Dupont (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB|
|115||Tom Bohli (Swi) Cofidis|
|116||Sasha Weemaes (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise|
|117||Peter Sagan (Svk) TotalEnergies|
|118||Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) AG2R Citroen Team|
|119||Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux|
|120||Tobias Andresen (Den) Development Team Dsm|
|121||Ben Swift (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers|
|122||Jordi Meeus (Bel) Bora-Hansgrohe|
|123||Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) EF Education-EasyPost|
|124||Oliviero Troia (Ita) UAE Team Emirates|
|125||Rui Oliveira (Por) UAE Team Emirates|
|126||David Dekker (Ned) Jumbo-Visma|
|127||Tobias Bayer (Aut) Alpecin-Fenix|
|128||Alex Colman (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise|
|129||Jens Keukeleire (Bel) EF Education-EasyPost|
|130||Luca Mozzato (Ita) B&B Hotels-KTM|
|131||Edoardo Affini (Ita) Jumbo-Visma|
|132||Ben Healy (Irl) EF Education-EasyPost|
|133||Tom Scully (NZl) EF Education-EasyPost|
|134||Owain Doull (GBr) EF Education-EasyPost|
|135||Maximilian Walscheid (Ger) Cofidis||0:11:53|
|136||Szymon Sajnok (Pol) Cofidis|
|DNF||Arvid de Kleijn (Ned) Human Powered Health|
|DNF||Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux|
|DNF||Adam De Vos (Can) Human Powered Health|
|DNF||August Jensen (Nor) Human Powered Health|
|DNF||Donavan Grondin (Fra) Arkea-Samsic|
|DNF||Maurice Ballerstedt (Ger) Alpecin-Fenix|
|DNF||Kamil Gradek (Pol) Bahrain Victorious|
|DNF||Gerben Thijssen (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux|
|DNF||Wessel Krul (Ned) Human Powered Health|
|DNF||Lukas Pöstlberger (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe|
|DNF||Martin Laas (Est) Bora-Hansgrohe|
|DNF||Karl Patrick Lauk (Est) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB|
|DNF||Leon Heinschke (Ger) Team DSM|
|DNF||Johan Jacobs (Swi) Movistar Team|
|DNF||Jonas Iversby Hvideberg (Nor) Team DSM|
|DNF||Oier Lazkano Lopez (Spa) Movistar Team|
|DNF||Julius van den Berg (Ned) EF Education-EasyPost|
|DNF||Raphael Parisella (Can) B&B Hotels-KTM|
|DNF||Julien Morice (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM|
|DNF||Jules Hesters (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise|
|DNF||Christopher Lawless (GBr) TotalEnergies|
|DNF||Tuur Dens (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise|
|DNF||Harry Sweeny (Aus) Lotto Soudal|
|DNF||Tom Wirtgen (Lux) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB|
|DNF||Bas Tietema (Ned) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB|
|DNF||Iljo Keisse (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team|
|DNF||Alexander Konychev (Ita) BikeExchange-Jayco|
|DNF||Kenneth Vanbilsen (Bel) Cofidis|
|DNF||Lawson Craddock (USA) BikeExchange-Jayco|
|DNF||Marco Haller (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe|
|DNF||Morten Hulgaard (Den) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team|
|DNF||Jonas Abrahamsen (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team|
|DNF||Markus Hoelgaard (Nor) Trek-Segafredo|
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