[‘A really bad day. I have no explanation’: Fabio Jakobsen casts doubt on continuing Tour de France
This Tour de France is not going to plan for Fabio Jakobsen. On stage 10, a horrifically hot and humid day in the Massif Central, the Soudal-QuickStep rider was dropped early on by an increase in pace at the front, and eventually crossed the line more than 30 minutes after winner Pello Bilbao alongside his sprint rival Caleb Ewan [Lotto-Dstny]
Soaked in sweat, salt patches all over his jersey and shorts, and his injuries from his stage four crash still bandaged up, Jakobsen didn’t try and sugarcoat the difficulties he endured when asked by
Cycling Weekly how his day went.
“Hard. A hard stage. Not a good day,” he summarised. “You hope for it to be better but it wasn’t.”
Asked why he struggled so much, he responded: “I have no idea. I have no explanation. Maybe it’s the crash [but] I hope to be better.”
He later told the Dutch broadcaster
NOS that “on a day like today you start doubting everything: your preparation, whether you have trained enough for the climbs. Everything goes through your head. Today was really bad. But we’re still here. Tomorrow we will sprint again.”
Stage 11 is expected to finish with a bunch sprint in Moulins, but Jakobsen’s team were not completely convinced that that would materialise, citing a fatigued peloton with an eye on the Alps and the scorching hot temperatures.
“For the whole team today was a tough day, and [tomorrow] you [would] still have to control the race, so maybe the breakaway goes tomorrow,” the team’s DS Tom Steels mooted. “You never know: you have to have the manpower to control the race, and Ewan was also behind [on stage 10] so we will see.
“We will see how Fabio wakes up but if he says he doesn’t feel 100% then we have to take it like this. We still have two weeks to go.”
Questioned whether or not there is faith among the team that Jakobsen – who announced on the rest day that he would be riding for dsm-firmenich from next season – Steels played a straight bat.
“If we have to go to Paris to a win stage, we will do,” he said wryly. “Fabio’s crash changed a lot for him. He was so bruised and battered and we take it as it is. Now he is recovered, he is in good condition, and today was not easy but he survived.
“You know how hard the Tour is: if you miss a few percentages to stay with the top guys, then you have to fight the whole way to get good results. He is feeling OK. he is improving, getting there. The spirit in the team is OK… we have to pick our days now.”
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Iljo Keisse, meanwhile, was a teammate of Jakobsen’s until this season when he took up a sport director’s role immediately after his retirement. He told
Cycling Weekly that while some riders “really don’t like” rest days and that “they can be blocked and get dropped really early on the day after”, for Jakobsen the day off racing was a positive event.
“Mentally it was, but also for his injuries that are healing fast,” Keisse said. “These stages are not easy for him – heat, the mountains – but we still have hope that he can try and go for a win tomorrow.”
When Jacobsen was asked if he can win on stage 11, he simply said: “I have no idea.”