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Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) has said that he’s equally scared, nervous, and excited about his highly anticipated return to the peloton at the Tour of Turkey.
Sunday will be the first time the Dutch sprinter has donned a race number since his awful crash at the Tour of Poland last August. Though he has put in the training kilometers to get himself ready to race, Jakobsen doesn’t know how he’ll react when he finds himself in the thick of a bunch sprint for the first time in eight months.
“For someone who has been out of competition for several months, it’s always going to be a bit exciting, scary and you’re going to be a little bit nervous,” Jakobsen said in a video press conference from his hotel in Turkey. “I have to trust racing again and trust my colleagues again. It’s a little bit scary but it is a thing that makes you feel alive.
“We can see after a sprint and a hectic final, how I respond and why I respond like that.”
Jakobsen had a challenging time since his crash in Poland, and has had to undergo two surgeries. In between the treatment and the recovery time, he has been working hard on his fitness and has gone on two training camps with his teammates.
The old Fabio is in there
Going into the week-long Tour of Turkey, he’s confident that he has put the right work in but there are still uncertainties. How his left vocal cord, which was paralyzed in the accident, will behave is one unknown. It has started working again but the Dutchman doesn’t know if it will move in the right way when he is breathing heavily during a full sprint.
He has said that he’s already imagined himself winning again but he knows that his return to racing is likely to be less straightforward than that.
“In my mind, I’ve already won a couple of races, but the body has to work together with me,” said Jakobsen. “I’m not 100 percent sure, but my trainer says that the old Fabio is still in there and I can feel in training that it’s going quite well but training and racing is different.”
While there might be increased attention on Jakobsen as he finds his way in the bunch again, there is no pressure on him to come up with the goods. Deceuninck-Quick-Step has Mark Cavendish and Alvaro Hodeg in its arsenal for the sprint finishes, leaving Jakobsen to time to learn what it’s like to be a racer again.
“I think the goal of the team is to win a stage win Mark Cavendish and I’m more than happy to help. I look forward to it,” he said. “I have to try and get through seven days of the Turkish landscape and some bunch sprints and see how my body responds.”