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Fabio Jakobsen of Deceuninck-Quick-Step won stage 4 of the 2021 Vuelta a España, stabbing his wheel across the line with centimeters to spare.
It was the big Dutchman’s first big win one a year after a terrible crash at the Tour of Poland that saw him in a coma for five days.
Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick-Step): stage winner
“This is a dream! I want to thank my family and the team, my second family, because they are the reason I am here. It’s the most beautiful victory of my career and I can’t thank everybody enough for what they did for me,” said Jakobsen. “It’s been a long road since last year, and to be here, a Grand Tour stage winner again, makes me incredibly happy.”
Enric Mas (Movistar Team): 39th, at :00
Enric Mas is one of Movistar’s strongest climbers and a GC hopeful in his home country’s grand tour.
Mas was happy for Jakobsen’s win, and also to make it through the stage safely as he recovered from the previous day’s climbing.
“Having shared teams with Jakobsen and knowing him well as a person, even if it’d be already so nice to see someone like him winning after all he’s gone through, it makes me even more happy to see him triumph,” said Mas. “When it comes to the stage, though, it was still really hard. You may not see the stress on TV, yet it was really tense out there, and the last 60-70 kilometers were fast and difficult.”
Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix): 9th, at :00
Jasper Philipsen has been at the front end of racing this season, winning stage 2 of the Vuelta, and before that was on the pointy end of things at the Tour de France last month. Philipsen won stage 15 of the 2020 Vuelta, and will be looking to again add to his palmares on the flat stages.
“It was a great day wearing green and get all the support from the team,” Philipsen said. “I got boxed in in the last corner and couldn’t fight for the victory. Tomorrow, there is a new chance.”
“Congrats Fabio Jakobsen! What a victory after such a long period of fighting your way back into the peloton,” Philipsen added. “Tomorrow, we’re getting another flat stage with a possible sprint finish, unless sidewinds decide otherwise.”
Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers): 22nd, at :00
Egan Bernal remains as Ineos Grenadiers’ best hope as the Olympic road champion and Tour de France runner-up Richard Carapaz hemorrhaged time on the previous stage.
The 2019 Tour de France winner finished safely in the bunch on the day’s sprint stage, and will be looking to do the same on the next stage, before the roads turn upward at the end of the first week of the Vuelta.
But the speedy climber will again need to stay safely sheltered from the wind on what looks on paper to be a flat and blustery route.
“The wind wasn’t that strong today to really mark the stage,” Bernal said. “It’s something we’ll try one day if there’s enough wind. All the riders have that feeling, and like all the teams, we are very attentive, and we are ready to take advantage of any opportunity.”