Vuelta 2019: Stage 4 – Fabio Jakobsen takes victory by millimetres

Holy moly, it took a photo finish to sort out stage four’s sprint finish. When the image was processed it showed Deceuninick Quick Step’s Fabio Jakobsen out-lunging a fast finishing Sam Bennett (BORA-hansgrohe) to take victory by millimeters. Nicholas Roche (Sunweb) remains in red, the only other GC change being the abandon of Jumbo Visma’s Steven Kruijswijk.

Success in sprinting comes down to split second decisions processed at speed, and in a finale littered with roundabouts that ability proved crucial.  Jakobsen put all the lead out train woes of stage three behind him. Sticking to Maximiliano Richeze‘s wheel like glue until he opened his sprint to claim his maiden Grand Tour victory at his maiden Grand Tour.

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I knew when I saw guys from the team cheering. I threw the bike for the line and couldn’t see because I closed my eyes and Sam was close to me. I’m so happy to take the win. This is a big one, especially in the Dutch champion’s jersey. I came here to win a stage in this Vuelta. I’m only 22 years old and I’m so happy I can already put this on my palmarès. Fabio Jakobsen

It looked as though it was all going according to plan for Bennett until he took the long way around a roundabout with 1km to go and dropped several places. He would not give up and clawed his way back into contention, weaving through bodies to come alongside the Dutch champion and lunge for the line. So close, so far.

This one hurts a lot. The guys did an amazing job. The Quick-Step rider (Fabio Jakobsen) went and I couldn’t do any more. It was really hard to position myself in the final kilometres. On the last roundabout I lost many positions because I chose the wrong side. I was just fighting the whole time and, even if I put out a good speed, I sprinted from far back and there wasn’t much I could do in the final meters. I really forced this one to happen but it just didn’t go as I hoped for. I have to congratulate Fabio Jakobsen for getting this fantastic win. Sam Bennett

Hopefully the points jersey will go some way towards lessening the disappointment.

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Rider of the Race

I thought long and hard about this. The riders in first and second place are both strong contenders. There is also the not inconsiderable challenge from out brave breakaway duo of Jelle Wallays (Lotto Soudal) and the purple clad Jorge Cubero (Burgos-BH). You know how I love the unsung heroes. However, I’m awarding it to Quickstepper Remi Cavagna for sheer strength and cheeky impudence.

Of course it made perfect tactical sense for Deceuninck Quick Step to send a rider up the road forcing the other sprint teams to chase. That said, Remi took his chance with both hands. In a technical finale, he took a better line around around one of the innumerable corners with 5.5km to go, got his gap and powered away. I loved it, and for a short, hot minute it looked as though he would succeed as his team did their best to disrupt the chase. Once he was caught, the team cruised to front, took control and set their sprinter up in style.

What else happened?

Such a shame to see Kruijswijk retire from the Vuelta after his crash on Stage 1. Knee injuries are tricky and we wish him a speedy recovery.

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THERE WERE ECHELONS!!! Better still, EF Education First were driving the splits. Of course it all came back together before the only climb of the day, but the Pink Armada set sail with some purpose today. BRAVO

Final Word

There are no easy days at La Vuelta

Stage results

1 Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck Quick Step) 4:04:16

2 Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) same time

3 Max Walscheid (Sunweb) s/t

4 Fernando Gaviria (UAE – Team Emirates) s/t

5 Luka Mezgec (Mitchelton-Scott) s/t

GC standings

1 Nicolas Roche (Sunweb) 9:51:14

2 Nairo Quintana (Movistar) +0:02

3 Rigoberto Uran (EF-andallthat) +0:08

4 Mikel Nieve (Mitchelton-Scott) +0:22

5 Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) +0:33

6 Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +0.35

7 Sergio Higuita (EF-pleasedontmakemewriteitagain) +0:37

8 Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb) +0:38

9 David Formolo (Bora Hansgrohe) +0:46

10 Rafal Majka (Bora Handgrohe) same time

All the jerseys

Leader’s jersey: Nicolas Roche (Sunweb)

Points jersey: Sam Bennett (BORA – hansgrohe)

Climber’s jersey: Angel Madrazo (Burgos)

Young Rider’s jersey: Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana)

Team classification: Team Sunweb

Official Vuelta website is here;  Full stage review from cyclingnews

Header image: © Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

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