Fabio Jakobsen celebrated "an amazing day" after sprinting to victory in stage two of the Tour de France.

The second of three stages to be held in Denmark proved to be a frantic one, but ultimately pre-race favourite Jakobsen took his first individual Tour de France triumph.

Preferred to Mark Cavendish and Julian Alaphilippe for Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team, Jakobsen repaid the team's faith with a perfectly executed sprint in Nyborg, following a 202.5-kilometre ride from Roskilde.

Saturday's route included an 18km crossing of the Great Belt Bridge, on which heavy winds caused havoc, with a huge crash halting the progress of two-time reigning champion Tadej Pogacar and world champion time trialist Filippo Ganna among others.

Fortunately for the General Classification hopefuls, the crash occurred within the final 3,000 metres, meaning no rider lost time, and the focus was able to switch to the sprinters at the front.

Wout van Aert and Danish hope Mads Pedersen looked well set coming out of the bunch, but Michael Morkov's exceptional lead-out ability proved crucial for Quick-Step, as Jakobsen was able to launch an attack in the final 150m, and ultimately crossed the line first by a matter of inches.

For the 25-year-old, who suffered horrendous injuries in a crash at the Tour de Pologne less than two years ago, it marked a remarkable success story.

"For me it was a long process, step by step," said the Dutchman. "A lot of people helped me along the way – this is to pay them back so they can see that it was not for nothing.

"I'm happy that I still enjoy riding the bike, racing, and luckily I can win. It was an amazing day.

"The team kept me in a good position when we exited from the bridge. I could stay behind Morkov, he dropped me off in the wheel of Van Aert. I was next to [Peter] Sagan, we kind of touched each other but luckily we stayed alright, then it was a final stretch where I could launch.

"It sounds easy, but for sure the legs were in pain. But this is what we train for, this is why we race. And a stage at the Tour de France, I've been dreaming about that for 15 years. It's the biggest race. As a sprinter you want to make it here and to win."

Van Aert takes yellow

While he was pipped to the post by Jakobsen, Van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma) leads the GC, taking a one-second advantage over overnight leader Yves Lampaert, meaning he will wear yellow on Sunday's route from Vejle to Sonderborg.

Van Aert also leads the points classification after his efforts in the sprint, ending Quick-Step's run of 34 successive Tour de France stages in which one of their riders has held the green jersey.

STAGE RESULT 

1. Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) 4:34:34
2. Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma) same time
3. Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) same time
4. Danny van Poppel (BORA-Hansgrohe) same time
5. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) same time

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma) 4:49:50
2. Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) +0.01
3. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) +0.08

Points Classification

1. Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma) 60
2. Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) 59
3. Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) 30

King of the Mountains

1. Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education–EasyPost) 3

Fabio Jakobsen celebrated his 25th birthday in style as he edged a mass sprint to claim his third stage win of the 2021 Vuelta a Espana.

Tuesday's 180 kilometre stretch from Laredo to Santo Cruz de Bezana was always expected to provide a frantic finish and so it proved.

Deceuninck – Quick Step rider Jakobsen was dropped by the peloton with around 60km remaining, yet recovered brilliantly with the help of his team-mates and launched his sprint to perfection at the end of stage 16.

Jakobsen held off a late surge by UAE-Team Emirates' Matteo Trentin, who eventually finished in third, with Jordi Meeus taking second place.

"A birthday is always a good day but I'm over the moon with this win," Jakobsen said. "I think what we saw today was the Wolfpack. 

"I was dropped on a climb, the guys waited for me and brought me back. I won the race but it was all because of them. 

"The only thing I can do is do a short, fast sprint, and they did everything else today. I'm never confident but I always try – because if you don't try then you never win."

The drama was not just consigned to the finish, as a crash took out 15 riders earlier in the day, including red jersey contenders Enric Mas, Guillaume Martin and Giulio Ciccone.

Trek - Segafredo rider Ciccone, who was positioned 12th overall at the start of the day, attempted to continue but had to withdraw.

There was no change in terms of the general classification standings as Odd Christian Eiking finished safely in the peloton.

With four stages to go ahead of Sunday's conclusion in Santiago de Compostela, Martin trails Eiking by 54 seconds and Primoz Roglic is one minute and 36s behind.

STAGE RESULT

1. Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck – Quick Step) 04:08:57
2. Jordi Meeus (BORA - hansgrohe) same time
3. Matteo Trentin (UAE-Team Emirates) same time

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Odd Christian Eiking (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) 64:06:47
2. Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) +0:54
3. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +1:36

Points Classification

1. Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 250
2. Matteo Trentin (UAE-Team Emirates) 123
3. Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education–Nippo) 114

King of the Mountains

1. Romain Bardet (Team DSM) 50 
2. Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) 31
3. Rafal Majka (UAE-Team Emirates) 29

What's next?

A whole different challenge awaits on Wednesday with a classic climb of the Lagos de Covadonga. The gruelling stage includes a climb almost 8km long with slopes reaching an inclination of 14 per cent

Fabio Jakobsen kept enough in reserve to edge a frantic sprint finish on stage eight of the Vuelta a Espana and go top of the points classification.

After Friday's first mountain stage of the 2021 Vuelta, it was back to a near flat run from Santa Pola to La Manga del Mar Menor on Saturday, resulting in a mass scramble in the closing kilometre.

With his Deceuninck-QuickStep boss Patrick Lefevere watching on, after travelling to join the team in Spain, Jakobsen was guided towards victory by a determined collective effort.

Florian Senechal led a burst at the front of the pack, spreading the peloton and allowing team-mate Jakobsen space to come steaming through to fend off another fast finisher in Alberto Dainese.

For 24-year-old Dutchman Jakobsen, it means that he has two stage wins already in this Vuelta – he also won twice in the 2019 race – and sits top of the points classification.

"It's very special to be here again," he said on Eurosport, as he celebrated his victory.

"The team did a perfect job. They kept the speed high, and even though I lost them a little bit I was still in a good position and I launched my sprint in the corner with 200 [metres] to go, and I was the fastest I think.

"It was about being strong, fast, and it's about timing. On a finish like this you need to be on time – I've been twice too late and this time I was perfectly right from the corner and I could do a full sprint to the line."

Jakobsen suffered a massive crash at the Tour de Pologne in August of last year, which led to him being put into an induced coma, and he spoke later of being thankful to have survived.

The Vuelta has been good to him, and on Saturday he said: "Two years ago I won twice – I'm extremely happy and grateful to be here. This is what we will keep on doing, trying to win sprints."

There was barely a straggler to be found, with the leading 136 riders on the stage all crossing the finish line within a minute of Jakobsen.

It meant the leading positions in the general classification were unaffected, with Primoz Roglic staying in La Roja as the general classification leader, the Jumbo-Visma rider still eight seconds ahead of Bora-Hansgrohe's Felix Grossschartner.

STAGE RESULT

1. Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick Step) 3:56:05
2. Alberto Dainese (Team DSM) +0:00
3. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) +0:00
4. Jordi Meeus (Bora-Hansgrohe) +0:00
5. Itamar Einhorn (Israel Start-Up Nation) +0:00

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 29:14:40
2. Felix Grossschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe) +0:08
3. Enric Mas (Movistar) +0:25

Points Classification

1. Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-QuickStep) 180
2. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) 164
3. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 74

King of the Mountains

1. Pavel Sivakov (INEOS Grenadiers) 16
2. Michael Storer (Team DSM) 12
3. Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious) 11

What's next?

After the rather routine nature of Saturday's ride, Sunday will be a wholly different story. It is back to the mountains for the 188km race from Puerto Lumbreras to Alto de Velefique. The riders will have it relatively easy in the first 90km, before the serious ascents begin with the category one Collado Venta Luisa.

Fabio Jakobsen sprinted to victory a year after he was in a medically induced coma and Rein Taaramae picked himself up following a late crash on stage four of the Vuelta a Espana to retain the red jersey.

Jakobsen suffered life-threatening injuries in a high-speed smash on the opening stage of the Tour of Poland last year but has made an incredible recovery.

The Deceuninck-Quick Step rider showed great power and speed to take the stage win in Molina de Aragon ahead of Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ), with Magnus Cort (EF Education Nippo) crossing the line in third place.

Dutchman Jakobsen left it late to dart inside Demare for a magnificent victory in an uphill finish at the end of a 163.9 kilometre route from El Burgo de Osma.

Michael Matthews had talked up his chances of winning the stage, but the Australian could not get a clear run and had to settle for fifth place behind Alberto Dainese.

Taaramae was rocked when he went down as the pace was stepped up near the end, yet he remains the race leader by a margin of 25 seconds over Kenny Elissonde as he crashed in the final 3km.

Carlos Canal, Angel Madrazo and Joan Bou spent much the stage at the front after breaking away from the start, but they were caught with 13km to go

Jakobsen said: "It's a dream come true. After the crash, I was a long way back, but I'm happy I'm here.

"A lot of time and effort has gone into this by a lot of people, and it's also their victory. I'm talking about all the doctors and surgeons and medical staff in Poland, through to my second family here with the team, and everything in between.

"It's also their victory. It's also my family's victory because they're the reason I'm here."

 

STAGE RESULT

1. Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick) 03:43:07 
2. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) same time
3. Magnus Cort (EF Education Nippo) same time
4. Alberto Dainese (Team DSM) same time
5. Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange) same time

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Rein Taaramae (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) 13:08:51
2. Kenny Elissonde (Trek–Segafredo) +0:25
3. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +0:30

Points Classification

1. Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-QuickStep) 100
2. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) 68
3. Alex Aranburu (Astana-Premier Tech) 50

King of the Mountains

1. Rein Taaramae (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) 10
2. Kenny Elissonde (Trek–Segafredo) 7
3. Joe Dombrowski (UAE Team Emirates) 6

What's next?

A flat 184.4km stage five from Tarancon to Albacete is likely to end with another sprint finish unless high winds are a major factor.

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