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Tour de France

Tour de France stage 2: Fabio Jakobsen edges Wout van Aert in crash-marred final

Winds don't blow right for splits on huge Great Belt bridges but huge crash in final three kilometers could cause issues for days to come.

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Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) pipped Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) to score the Nyborg sprint in stage 2 of the Tour de France.

Tour rookie Jakobsen emerged at the front of a scrappy reduced sprint on the Danish island to take his first Tour victory in his very first road stage of the race.

Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) finished third after opening up the final sprint.

Overnight race leader Yves Lampert (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) came down in a crash at 20km to go but regained contact only to see Van Aert take yellow with his second-place finish.

More than half the bunch were caught up in a crash after the peloton emerged from the hulking Great Belt bridges at 3km to go.

Time gaps will be neutralized under UCI regulation and there didn’t appear to be any serious injuries, but a bunch of bumps and bruises so early in the race could cause issues in two weeks’ time.

Jakobsen’s win marks the highest point in his comeback from the career-threatening injuries that sidelined him for months after the 2020 Tour of Poland. Three stages at last year’s Vuelta and triumph on debut at the Tour puts Jakobsen square at the front of the modern sprint pack.

“Today is ‘incroyable‘ as they say in French,” Jakobsen said at the finish. “For me, it was a long process step by step, and a lot of people helped me on the way. This is to pay them back, to show it was not for nothing.

“I’m happy I still enjoy riding and racing, and luckily I can still win. It’s an amazing day and I want to thank everyone who helped me get here.”

Jakobsen earned Tour sprint selection for Quick-Step over Mark Cavendish this summer. The young Dutchman eased the pressure on his shoulders at the earliest opportunity.

“A stage in the Tour de France, I’ve been dreaming about that for 15 years I think. It’s the biggest race, as a sprinter you want to get here and win.”

Cort climbs into KoM jersey

Home star Magnus Cort (EF Education EasyPost) went away with Sven Erik Bystrøm (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) and B&B Hotels-KTM duo Pierre Rolland and Cyril Barthe at the flag drop.

The foursome was on the hunt for mountain points and Cort didn’t let the opportunity slip in front of a home crowd.

The Dane scored the points he needed after the B&B pair got it wrong in their tactical horseplay. Rolland and Barthe lost the wheels on the first hill of the day and were left chasing as Cort went on to collect the first KoM jersey for Denmark in 10 years.

Tensions bubble through back-half of stage

The bunch kept Bystrøm and Cort on a close leash all day in anticipation of potential crosswind carnage to come. The gap hit three minutes but never more as BikeExchange-Jayco and Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl looked on a mission to secure a bunch sprint.

The approach of the intermediate sprint at 75km and a move into crosswinds prompted the first flurry of activity in the soft-tapping bunch.

Jumbo-Visma gave Van Aert a leadout for the sprint but Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) kicked hard to score a haul of points.

Changes in course direction saw the pace rise and fall as the increasingly nervy bunch looked to stay safe in the risk of splits.

Cort dropped back to the bunch at around 60km to go, but Bystrøm didn’t give up. The Norweigan only got reeled in for good at 30km as tension ramped to a high in the kilometer countdown toward the windswept Great Belt.

Nerves but not splits on the bridge

Nerves jangled on the Great Belt. (Photo: Getty Images)

Rigoberto Urán and U.S. rookie Kevin Vermaerke were caught in a crash just kilometers ahead of the Great Belt bridges at 21km to go. EF Education EasyPost rallied around Urán in a desperate TT back to the bunch and only made contact again at 9km to go to see Urán keep his GC hope alive.

The winds didn’t blow the way the bunch needed for the much-anticipated splits on the 18km bridges but jangling nerves still had an impact.

A second collision shortly after Urán’s incident brought a dozen riders down, leaving yellow jersey Lamapaert and Quick-Step star leadout man Michael Mørkøv a leg-sapping chase to make contact.

A shift in the direction of the bridge brought a headwind to the face of the peloton and put a handbrake on the spinning melee at 10km to go.

The bunch was all back together as the race returned to the land at 3km to go. Just as tension began to ease a huge crash around 30 riders back brought dozens of riders down but without risk of losing time.

Yellow jersey Lampaert led the bunch into the final kilometer as Van Aert surfed the Quick-Step train. Pedersen gambled with a long early sprint but was overhauled just meters from the line as Jakobsen lunged for Tour victory at the very first opportunity.

Results will be available once stage has completed.

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