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Gallery: Fabio Jakobsen, the Comeback Kid

Fabio Jakobsen wins Stage 4 of the 2021 Vuelta a Espana, completing his miraculous comeback

Robyn Davidson
18 Aug 2021

There are certain moments in this sport when a rider crossing the line first results in a win not just for them, but for all of cycling. Stage 4 of the Vuelta a España produced one of them.

A year after Fabio Jakobsen's horrifying crash at the Tour of Poland almost ended in the worst possible outcome, the 164km route out of El Burgo de Osma ensured one of the best.

A relatively straightforward day in which a Spanish breakaway trio resisted the peloton’s clutches for sponsorship airtime looked to follow the same script that we’ve come to expect from such stages. Yet a touch of wheels caused General Classification leader Rein Taaramäe to hit the ground.

Fortunately for the Estonian, the golden three-kilometre mark had been and passed, meaning most damage was ultimately done to his pride as opposed to his time advantage.

Up ahead, a hotly contested sprint finish was forming. High speeds, jostling bikes and jumping positions indicated a free-for-all was on the cards. They were dealt in favour of Deceuninck-QuickStep’s sprinter, who weaved between EF Education-Nippo’s Magnus Cort and Groupama-FDJ’s Arnaud Démare to surge ahead of his competitors at the finish in Molina de Aragón.

Speaking afterwards, the 24-year-old said: 'It’s a dream come true. After the crash, I was a long way back, but I’m happy I’m here.

'A lot of time and effort has gone into this by a lot of people, and it’s also their victory. I’m talking about all the doctors and surgeons and medical staff in Poland, through to my second family here with the team, and everything in between. It’s also their victory. It’s also my family’s victory, because they’re the reason I’m here.'

His fairy-tale moment stands tall in a year that has witnessed several similarly impressive comeback stories, Mark Cavendish being one of the most prevalent.

Sometimes cycling can bestow its best moments onto those it previously hurt the most. Jakobsen’s victory was not only the result of his team ensuring his safety throughout the day, but further the culmination of an extensive rehabilitation programme supported by his family and team; his green points jersey now the physical representation of all he has worked through to get back to this point in his career.

Below, Chris Auld's images of the day: