Fabio Jakobsen (Netherlands) won a mass sprint to claim gold in the elite men’s road race at the European Championships in Munich, Germany. The Quick-Step sprinter, who was selected for the Tour de France this year ahead of Mark Cavendish, beat Arnaud Demare (France) and Tim Merlier (Belgium) who won silver and bronze respectively.
Jakobsen had started the 208km race as the favorite and he and his Dutch teammates duly delivered. “[The Dutch riders] we don’t run together a lot as teammates, but we had a plan and everyone did their job and tried really hard to get me into position,” Jakobsen said afterwards.
“Danny van Poppel did an incredible job of putting me behind the wheel of Merlier so I could get out of his wake and pass. It’s pretty special. I’ll enjoy it all my life.”
Italy, whose runners have won the last four gold medals in this race, looked solid as the race entered the final mile, with Belgium’s lead also looking good. However, it was Jakobsen’s strength that proved decisive when he overhauled Merlier.
The victory caps off a great season for Jakobsen, which included a victory in the second stage of the Tour de France, and completes his comeback after a life-threatening accident during the Tour of Poland in 2020.
Van Poppel finished fourth, with Irishman Sam Bennet fifth. No British riders are taking part in the road races, although Ineos-Grenadiers Tom Pidcock is taking part in the mountain bike event, hoping to repeat his gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year.