Fabio Jakobsen makes it through on the first day after the crash.
Julian Alaphilippe was back in Pau Wednesday afternoon for the first time since time trialling to an electrifying victory in 2019, with the yellow jersey on his shoulders, to the delight of the thousands of fans that on that day got to witness one of the greatest moments in the recent history of the race.
Just like then, the doubleWorld Champion was again among the protagonists, after a rapid and fierce first hour of racing booking a place in a large breakaway group together with his teammates Kasper Asgreen and Rémi Cavagna. Col de Soudet was the first hurdle of the day, and as soon as the road began to rise, Alaphilippe became more and more prominent at the front.
The six-time Tour de France stage winner was one of the most active riders in the group, which fragmented four kilometers from the top, taking some long pulls, chasing on the descent after previously getting dropped, going on the offensive and spicing up the final hour of the race with a bold attack that saw him remain in the lead until the early slopes of the last ascent.
While Julian was animating this tough Pyrenean stage, Tim Declercq and Dries Devenyns – some 30 minutes in arrears – were putting in a huge effort for Fabio Jakobsen to help him make it over the first day in the mountains. Battered and bruised following his crash in Nogaro, the European Champion showed incredible determination and resilience as he fought hard to make it inside the time cut in Laruns. Helped by his incredible Soudal Quick-Step teammates, Fabio came home with eight minutes to spare and will continue the race, which now schedules another stage in the mountains.
“The best news of the day is that I made it. Climbing is not my thing, and yesterday I hit the ground hard, so I knew it was going to be a tough day. I got dropped in the beginning, but luckily Michael stayed with me and we came back. Then when we got distanced for good, we found a solid group to be part of. It wasn’t easy out there, but with the help of the guys I made the time cut. Now I hope to recover and the wounds to heal, as I like it here and want to continue the Tour”, said Fabio after the stage.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele / Getty Images