The Dutch sprinter pulled off a win that creates a lot of emotion as its been around a year since his horrendous crash at the Tour of Poland that put him into a coma.
Race leader Rein Taaramäe (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) crashed in the final 3km which means he does keep his red leader's jersey after being given the same time as group he was in.
The three-man break managed to hold on until 13km to go when the pace jumped up dramatically and they were caught. Only Taaramäe came down in the late crash, but he looked to be okay and finished with a team-mate.
How it happened
Stage four of the Vuelta a España 2021 started in El Burgo de Osma with a 163.9km rolling route with no climbs that would cause any problems for the peloton. The stage culminated in a slight uphill finish in Molina de Aragón.
Three riders went up the road early on, including two men from the Burgos-BH team in Ángel Madrazo and Carlos Canal along with Joan Bou (Euskaltel-Euskadi). Madrazo was the best-placed rider overall at 7-25.
They were allowed a maximum gap of around five minutes by the Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux team that was leading the peloton for the overall leader, Taaramäe.
Alpecin-Fenix did put one man up to the front to join the pacing with 100km to go that brought the gap down by 40 seconds as they worked for a second stage win for Jasper Philipsen.
The intermediate sprint with 62km to go was won by Bou with Florian Sénéchal (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) leading in the peloton as Philipsen decided last moment to take the last remaining point ahead of Matteo Trentin (UAE Team Emirates) and Michael Matthews (BikeExchange). This pace also saw the gap drop to 1-12.
There was a stalemate between both the break and the peloton with 50km to go with the gap sticking around 50 seconds with very little action forthcoming. Fortunately, the pace did kick up as the wind began to swirl slightly, but nothing came of it.
The break’s gap dropped to 15 seconds but when the wind didn’t blow the gap went back to 50 seconds again with 25km to go.
Finally, the escapees were caught with 13km to go by the peloton led by Groupama-FDJ and Alpecin-Fenix.
All the sprint teams were joined by the GC riders in the final 7km to try and make the 3km mark so they didn’t lose any unnecessary time due to a crash or mechanical failure. They did stay near the front even in the final few kilometres as they came into the last 2km.
Race leader Taaramäe hit the deck with 2.4km to go but keeps red due to the 3km cut-off, allowing riders that crash or suffer a mechanical to be awarded the same time as the group they were in.
The pace became infernal after this crash as the route became very technical with numerous sprinters getting boxed out in the tight bends at high speed.
Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) was led in by his team perfectly but Jakobsen was slotted perfectly in his wheel. Jakobsen then kicked round the Frenchman to win by a bike length in the end. Magnus Cort (EF Education-Nippo) held on for third with stage two winner, Philipsen, finishing down in ninth.
Jakobsen has slowly been building his form since the Tour of Turkey where he was helping Mark Cavendish to victories, a few more races came and went before he took two victories and now he adds a Vuelta stage to his resurgence.
Stage five is a completely flat stage and is set to be yet another sprint stage with a stage from Tarancon to Albacete on a 184.4km route.
Vuelta a España 2021 stage four: El Burgo de Osma to Molina de Aragón (163.9km)
1. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Deceuninck - Quick-Step, in 3-43-07
2. Arnaud Démare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
3. Magnus Cort (Den) EF Education-Nippo
4. Alberto Dainese (Ita) Team DSM
5. Michael Matthews (Aus) Team BikeExchange
6. Piet Allegaert (Bel) Cofidis
7. Jordi Meeus (Bel) Bora-Hansgrohe
8. Matteo Trentin (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
9. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
10. Riccardo Minali (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux, all at the same time
General classification after stage four
1. Rein Taaramäe (Est) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert, in 13-08-51
2. Kenny Elissonde (Fra) Trek-Segafredo, at 25s
3. Primož Roglič (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma, at 30s
4. Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Ag2r-Citroën Team, at 35s
5. Enric Mas (Esp) Movistar Team, at 45s
6. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Movistar Team, 51s
7. Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar Team, 57s
8. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
9. Egan Bernal (Col) Ineos Grenadiers, all at the same time
10. Mikel Landa (Esp) Bahrain Victorious, at 1-09
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