Baloise Belgium Tour
Stage 5: Brussel – Brussel
Belgium Sunday 18 June 2023 194.8 km
Fabio Jakobsen brings it home in Brussels
Soudal Quick-Step concluded the 92nd edition of our home race on a high, with Fabio Jakobsen picking up the team’s 23rd stage victory at the Belgium Tour after delivering a pitch-perfect sprint not far from the Atomium, the symbol of the famous Expo ’58.
Thanks to a superb job of his teammates, the European Champion found himself in an ideal slot as he rounded out the last corner with 300 meters to go, and unleashed a brilliant sprint in the last 150 meters – a massive acceleration that couldn’t be matched by any of his opponents, who were left fighting for the minor placings on the podium.
Just like Remco Evenepoel twenty-four hours earlier in Switzerland, Jakobsen dedicated his victory to Gino Mäder, with whom he has fond memories from the 2021 Vuelta a España: “This one was for Gino. I thought a lot about him these past couple of days and during today’s stage. I had this picture of us together on the final podium of the Vuelta, both with our distinctive jersey after a hard race. He will be missed for sure, by everyone, but especially by his family and friends.”
“I’m happy with the two wins I got this week in Belgium. The preparation went well, and this makes me satisfied. The legs are getting better and better and the confidence is there, which is important as I get closer to my second half of the season goals”, added the 26-year-old Dutchman.
Casper Pedersen was another Soudal Quick-Step rider on the podium in Brussels, thanks to his third place in the general classification – just ahead of Yves Lampaert – which came on the back of a solid time trial and a day on the attack on the queen stage of the race.
“It was a really nice week for us here. Our primary goal was to be successful in the bunch sprint with Fabio, but we also raced for the GC. To get two victories and to see how well we worked together makes us happy. Taking third and fourth in the standings shows that we can be up there also on the hard days. It was also great to have Michael here, not only that he has a wealth of experience, he gives some great tips during the stages and knows how to calm things. I can’t wait to race together with him at the National Championships next weekend”, said Casper after his first ever top three finish in a stage race.
Photo credit: ©Mark Van Hecke / Getty Images