Again for Quick-Step Floors: Fabio Jakobsen sprints to the victory in Schoten

5 April 2018

For the first time in the history of the Scheldeprijs, the race crossed the national borders. The start was given in Terneuzen (the Netherlands), where many curious Dutch people and a large crowd of Belgian cycling fans became acquainted with the city at the Westerschelde. The first race hours should be a spectacle with more than 100 km in the province of Zeeland, where the wind is always there.

After a pleasant team presentation at the town square in Terneuzen and the starting shot, it was finally time to race. A first breakaway attempt, including Lars Bak, Jan-Willem Van Schip and Kenneth Van Rooy, turned out to be nothing. Despite the wind, the peloton had a high pace. The teammates of Kittel tried to tear the peloton into pieces during the first hours of the race, but there were no real echelons. The defenitive breakaway  of the day was given a green light a little bit later: Jonas Rickaert (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Jan-Willem Van Schip (Roompot), Sean De Bie (Veranda's Willems), Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Wanty Groupe-Gobert) and Alexander Cataford (United Healthcare) received an advantage of 3.5 minutes from the peloton.

Démare, Groenewegen en Kitten did not compete for the victory

In the meantime the peloton behind the leaders was split into two groups. A second group of riders ignored the barriers at a railway crossing in the Dutch city Krabbendijke. They were irrevocably taken off course by the competition jury. Among the disqualified several big names : Arnaud Démare, Dylan Groenewegen, Davide Martinelli and Tony Martin. And so Marcel Kittel seemed to get a free pass towards a sixth victory in Schoten. For the German, who exchanged Quick-Step for Katusha-Alpecin in the mid-season, however, it turned out differently.

At ten kilometers from the finish Kittel had to deal with a flat tire. Teammates Politt and Schmidt tried to bring the German back into the peloton, but the German soon saw that his attempt was useless. At that time, a thinned peloton had just caught Antoine Duschesne (Groupama-FDJ) and Owain Doull (Sky). They had escaped while entering Antwerp, but with an advantage of 1.5 minutes they did not have a chance against the upcoming peloton.

"The Wolfpack" strikes again

And so in Schoten it would again turn out to be a sprint, but without top favorites Groenewegen, Kittel and Démare. A snack for the 'wolfpack' of Quick-Step Floors. Iljo Keisse and Zdenek Stybar put their young teammate Fabio Jakobsen in a seat and that led to the victory, number 25 already for the team of Patrick Lefevere. Pascal Ackermann (BORA-hansgrohe) and Chris Lawless stood on the finish picture and were rewarded with a place on the podium. The diamonds, however, were for Fabio Jakobsen, 21 years old and now one of the big talents in the peloton, a name that we will undoubtedly see again in the future on the honors list of the Scheldeprijs.

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