The fairy tale book Fabio Jakobsen: “The circle is complete, Saturday I was the fastest on earth”

The fairy tale book Fabio Jakobsen: “The circle is complete, Saturday I was the fastest on earth”

Interview

“If the sprint in Denmark is successful in the second stage of the Tour de France and you ask me that question five minutes after the finish, I’m willing to say ‘yes’ to that”, Fabio Jakobsen answered in an interview of CyclingFlash for the Tour de France when asked when he will dare to call himself the best sprinter in the world. And so it happened. The rider couldn’t believe his luck during the press conference afterwards.

It’s 700 days after your horror crash. Can we call you a miracle?
“If you think it’s a miracle, then yes. It is a special story, almost a fairy tale. I’m super grateful to be here, that I got the chance. There are other examples of riders falling, not even getting a chance to get back into the pack. Or not even as a person. I am grateful. Of course I’m happy, but the fall in Poland made me more humble. Again, I am extremely happy. But I also think about the riders who don’t make it. Hopefully people have enjoyed that I still love cycling, that I still love sprinting for wins. That I can achieve these results together with my teammates and family. I absolutely enjoy this.”

There was a lot of pressure on you, also because Mark Cavendish was not selected. How did you deal with that?
Pressure makes diamonds† I always handle pressure well, I like to perform under pressure. I know the team believes in me, my family believes in me and I believe in myself. I train for this and I leave a lot for this. I do a lot for it. But most of the pressure I put on myself. I want to be the best version of myself, every day. I enjoy that, all the support from home. That strengthens me. As a top athlete you have to be able to handle that pressure. Coming back to Cavendish, I think we both deserve to be here. He has been a great role model for me for the last fifteen years. He is a legend. I’m grateful to have gotten this spot in the roster, despite others giving it to Mark. But I’m pretty sure he enjoys my win too.”

Jakobsen thanks all fans at the finish in Nyborg – photo: Cor Vos

To whom do you most dedicate this victory?
“First of all to my fiancé, my parents, my sister and my other family. They supported me greatly by driving me in and out of the hospital. Then the team, with Patrick Lefevere in the lead. Quick-Step as sponsor. They never lost faith in me. They knew it would be a long way back, but they continued to support me. Also all the medical staff who have helped me the last two years. First to be a normal person again, then to be a cyclist again and now to be a top sprinter again.

I also have to thank my osteopath at home. His name is Cor. He may not have returned my teeth, but he has made sure that my body has the flexibility and resilience again after the fall. The impact was huge. Many muscles stopped working. I really had to rehabilitate and be reactivated. Cor has played a huge role in that, despite being 85 years old. He still knows exactly what to do. Not only him but also all those other people, I will be forever grateful. They are the reason I’m here, I didn’t do this alone. As a sprinter you need teammates, the support from home…

It’s just special. I started cycling fifteen years ago. Together with my father and mother, Dad still rides ahead of me on the scooter. My father-in-law does the same. Even Michael Mørkøv’s father-in-law did that a few days ago. That shows that you need family and friends. My team is my second family. I genuinely love everyone on the team. This is for them, I hope everyone enjoys it.”

Afterwards, Jakobsen deeply thanked his teammates, here Mattia Cattaneo – photo: Cor Vos

What did you feel when you stopped right after the finish, surrounded by all your teammates?
“That’s special. I sat at home for a long time after the crash. I had trouble walking. But then everyone already said: ‘It will take time, but we will support you all the way through’. All boys have never lost faith in me. To celebrate this success with them, that is indescribable. This is truly a team win. In the hotel I personally thanked everyone in the room. They are the reason I am here. I can’t win without my teammates. That’s super special. It really is my second family. I see all the older boys as older brothers, all the younger ones as younger brothers. We do this together. We have a special bond. I will never forget this in my life. I am really grateful to be on this team.”

Is this sporting the end of your return?
“Yes, of course. The Tour de France is the biggest cycling event of the year. The largest in the world. Everyone is on holiday in Europe, everyone is watching this race. Before the crash I was hoping to go to the Tour, although I still had a few guys ahead of me in the hierarchy at the time. Then the fall followed, which may have delayed my debut in the Tour. This year it went between cav and me, which I think is normal. Again, we both deserve to be here. For me, the circle is now complete. From a talent, to hopefully going to the Tour and then this comeback and rehabilitation… To immediately grab the first chance in the sprint here in Nyborg, I can say that I am one of the best sprinters in the world. Saturday I was the fastest on earth, probably.”

“You… get… that… don’t smile off my face!” – photo: Cor Vos