Vuelta a España: Florian Sénéchal delivers for Deceuninck-Quick-Step after Fabio Jakobsen cracks

Some quick thinking and a strong sprint from Florian Sénéchal saved Deceuninck-Quick-Step after Fabio Jakobsen cracked in the final kilometers.

Photo: Jorge Guerrero/AFP via Getty Images

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It seemed like it was about to end in disaster, but Florian Sénéchal saved the day for Deceuninck-Quick-Step.

The Belgian team made the most of a finish laden with traffic furniture and roundabouts on stage 13 of the Vuelta a España, driving a hard pace and causing fractures in the front of the peloton.

Also read: Florian Sénéchal snatches opportunity for win

Fabio Jakobsen looked like he was going to get a VIP pass to his third stage victory, but he found himself gapped and trapped behind the Ineos pairing of Tom Pidcock and Egan Bernal as his team went up the road. The Dutchman worked hard to close the gap, but the effort took its toll, and he blew up with 1,500 meters to go.

“We took a corner with a few kilometers to go, and I think Egan Bernal and Tom Pidcock created a bit of a gap. I tried to close it, but I couldn’t. Then I didn’t have the legs to sprint, so I told Florian that he should do the sprint. I said it on the radio, and I dropped back,” Jakobsen said after the stage.

Deceuninck-Quick-Step’s plan looked like it was unraveling before its eyes and there wasn’t much time to salvage it.

However, despite losing its finisher – and with Matteo Trentin lying in wait at the back of its lead-out train – the team kept drilling it on the front without hesitation.

Sénéchal, who had been preparing to lead out Jakobsen, stepped up to the plate to deliver a sprint that his leader would have been proud of. The Frenchman was clearly shocked by the turn of events that saw him suddenly taking his first-ever grand tour performance.

“I don’t know. We did a perfect lead-out for Fabio and then he said on the radio he had a flat tire and that there was a gap, and he said ‘Florian, you can sprint’. Bert Van Lerberghe did a super good job and in the last 200 meters I gave the maximum,” Sénéchal said.

“I don’t realize it at the moment, but it’s crazy. At first, I thought someone would pass me, but nobody passed me, and I gave my maximum. It’s crazy. I have to thank my teammates, they did a really good job. I am lucky today. I am very happy for my family, my friends, and my wife. It’s a good result for us.”

What could have been a disastrous day for Deceuninck-Quick-Step was salvaged by a calm and collected Sénéchal, who delivered the perfect sprint.

Jakobsen will now have to wait until next week to add a third sprint to his 2021 Vuelta a España palmarès.

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