Fabio Jakobsen’s fine comeback from dire injuries suffered last year continued on Tuesday at the Vuelta a España, where the Dutchman took his third victory of the 2021 edition on his 25th birthday. Having survived a UAE-Emirates effort to drop him before the race’s conclusion, Jakobsen’s triumph increased his lead in the points competition. Odd Christian Eiking (Norway/Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) kept the race lead.
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The Vuelta started its final week with one of the few chances left for the sprinters. A single Cat. 3 climb was poised just inside the second half of 180 km, and there were a few ripples, but it looked to be heading for a bunch sprint in Santa Cruz de Bezana.
— Deceuninck-QuickStep (@deceuninck_qst) August 31, 2021
Just after a crash of 15 riders including second-place Guillaume Martin and fourth-place Enric Mas, a quintet of fugitives skipped away off the front. Also caught up in the crash was 12th place Giulio Ciccone who, after a long effort to chase back onto the peloton, had to abandon the race. Ciccone also had to abandon the Giro d’Italia after crashing on Stage 16; he has four DNFs in eight Grand Tour starts, but has two Giro stage wins and took the Giro mountains title in 2019.
More update later pic.twitter.com/4CQzD1GEgU
— Trek-Segafredo (@TrekSegafredo) August 31, 2021
The sprinters’ teams of DSM, Groupama-FDJ and Deceuninck-Quick Step kept a close watch on the breakaway. On the Cat. 3, Alto de Hijas (3.7 km of 7.2 percent), two Lotto-Soudal fellows attacked, but only one made the junction with the escape.
With 58 km remaining, UAE-Emirates assumed control on an uncategorized and dropped Jakobsen.
A contingent of Quick Step riders brought Jakobsen back. For 30 km the gap to the leading sextet was 30 seconds.
The last of the fugitives only capitulated with 4.5 km to race. Groupama-FDJ led the way into town.
The teams fought for the best position as the road narrowed and curved. Deceuninck-Quick Step seized the reins, but it was Bora-Hansgrohe leading under the red kite.
Jakobsen followed Jordi Meeus of Bora-Hansgrohe and then came around the Belgian to claim the hat trick and his fifth career Vuelta win.
Wednesday is the first of two consecutive stages that end of an HC-rated climb; the fearsome Lagos de Covadonga will go a long way in determining this year’s GC. Can Eiking hang on?
2021 Vuelta a España Stage 16
1) Fabio Jakobsen (The Netherlands/Deceuninck-Quick Step) 4:08:57
2) Jordi Meeus (Belgium/Bora-Hansgrohe) s.t.
3) Matteo Trentin (Italy/UAE-Emirates) s.t.
2021 Vuelta a España GC
1) Odd Christian Eiking (Norway/Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) 60:06:47
2) Guillaume Martin (France/Cofidis) +0:54
3) Primož Roglič (Slovenia/Jumbo-Visma) +1:36
4) Enric Mas (Spain/Movistar) +2:11
5) Angel Lopez (Colombia/Movistar) +3:04
6) Jack Haig (Australia/Bahrain-Victorious) +3:35
7) Egan Bernal (Colombia/Ineos Grenadiers) +4:21