Fabio Jakobsen powered to his first World Tour win of the season with another phenomenal sprint at the end of a stage battered by ruthless crosswinds and broken into numerous echelons just 70 kilometers from the start.
After leaving behind Auffargis, the peloton allowed three men to open a gap, but things quickly changed shortly after passing through Dourdan, the site of two Eddy Merckx victories back in the ‘70s. The wind picked up and soon the bunch splintered, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl being one of the teams that decided to spread chaos. This spelled the end of the breakaway, and despite a brief regrouping with 60 kilometers to go, the field was again chopped to pieces once the wind intensified.
Having four members in the newly-formed front group, the Wolfpack made sure of controlling every attempt and setting a pace that prevented the chasers from rejoining the group that numbered around 30 men. As they entered Orléans, which returned as a stage finish for the first time since 2012 – when Tom Boonen won – Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl took over the reins again and stormed to the front with Yves Lampaert, Zdenek Stybar and Florian Sénéchal, who dominated the finale, providing another outstanding lead-out to Fabio Jakobsen.
The Dutchman – who less than ten days ago came out on top at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne – blew past his opponents with an incredible rush to the line inside the last 100 meters, taking his maiden Paris-Nice win and the team’s 12th success of the season.
“We knew that today would be a day of echelons and we love them, so we were prepared for what was to come. It wasn’t easy and there was a lot of nervousness the entire stage, but we remained confident and very motivated. Being in four riders meant we could control things at the end, where Yves did a huge pull over the bridge until the last kilometer, then Styby took over and Florian sheltered me until I could launch my sprint. I like winning and I’m happy I could take my first victory here and continue this good start to the season”, explained Jakobsen after notching up Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl’s 17th stage success at Paris-Nice.