NYBORG: Sprinter Fabio Jakobsen won stage two of the Tour de France on Saturday vindicating his Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team’s decision to select him ahead of experienced Mark Cavendish.
Jakobsen edged Jumbo-Visma’s Wout van Aert, who took the overall leader’s yellow jersey after the 202.2km run from Roskilde to Nyborg in Denmark that included a treacherous crossing of the 18km-long Great Belt Bridge.
Dutch rider Jakobsen’s win means Quick-Step have two victories in as many days, after they chose against picking veteran Cavendish, a 34-time stage winner on the race.
The 25-year-old Jakobsen suffered a life-threatening crash at the Tour of Poland in 2020, but has recovered to become one the most feared sprinter in road cycling as he embarks on his first Tour de France.
“It’s been a long road for me to get here, if only you knew,” said Jakobsen, who lost all his teeth and underwent five hours of surgery after crashing over barriers into a metal post.
“Yes, it’s like a second life.
“Those who know me understand the sacrifices I had to make. So today I really am very happy,” he said.
Dylan Groenewegen who was blamed for Jakobsen’s accident and received a nine months ban came eighth on the day here.
Double champion Tadej Pogacar retained the white jersey, for riders under 26, while Van Aert added the green sprint points jersey to his yellow one.
Mads Pedersen was third to give local fans double reason to celebrate as another Dane, Magnus Cort Nielsen, sporting a handlebar moustache, won the climber’s points jersey along the way.
Nielsen was hailed my mass crowds who had gathered in the port of Nyborg from early on with residents saying it was the biggest party in the small town’s history.
A day after an awe-inspiring wall of sound reverberated around Copenhagen reaching its peak as Jonas Vingegaard was swept along on a wave of emotion, rural Denmark also turned out in raucous droves to roar on the riders in bright sunshine.
The peloton set off from chic Roskilde, known as the garden of Copenhagen, with its galleries and festivals with New York rock group The Strokes due to play there later, a huge youthful crowds gave the race quite a send off.
The main feature of the race was the crossing of the Great Belt Bridge where overall leader Yves Lampaert was one of many fallers in strong winds.
The crossing from Denmark’s main island of Zeeland to the middle island of Fyn is windless only five days per year, and takes one million vehicles every month.
Sunday’s stage three is a 182-km flat ride from Vejle to Sonderborg.
Published in Dawn, July 3rd, 2022