Two years after a near fatal cycling crash Fabio Jakobsen continued to make up for lost time on Sunday when he won a hotly-contested sprint for the line at the European road race championships.
Winner of a stage at the Tour de France in July, Jakobsen jumped out of Belgian Tim Merlier’s slipstream to clinch victory in Munich, while Frenchman Arnaud Demare also nipped past Merlier to grab second.
“I’m delighted to be European champion,” said Jakobsen who lost all his teeth in his infamous crash at the Tour of Poland in 2020.
“I picked up Tim’s slipstream, it was a big advantage, and that gave me the speed to close the race from 50 metres out,” Jakobsen said.
The race featured most of the World Tour elite with only Wout van Aert missing from the line up.
The Italian team had seemed well positioned to get Elia Viviani in the mix, but he could only manage seventh place.
The 25-year-old Jakobsen came close to ending his career in Poland but has recovered to become one the most feared sprinters in road cycling.
After winning on his first appearance at the Tour in July, Jakobsen described it as “like a second life”.
“It’s been a long road for me to get here, if only you knew,” said Jakobsen, who underwent five hours of surgery the day he crashed over barriers and hit a metal post head on.
The Quick Step rider was selected for the Tour in June ahead of British great Mark Cavendish a year after claiming the Vuelta a Espana sprint points green jersey taking three wins along the way.
“Winning at the Vuelta was what tipped the balance in my comeback,” Jakobsen said while wearing his European champion jersey on Sunday.
“I said to myself right you’re back at your top level now, and I’m happy not to have lost power or strength in that crash in Poland, that was such a hard fall.”