Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) sprinted to a second consecutive Scheldeprijs title at the 2019 edition of the mid-week Classic, beating Max Walscheid (Sunweb) and Chris Lawless (Team Sky) to the line.
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The Dutchman was able to come around Marco Haller, who was sprinting in place of Katusha-Alpecin team-mate Marcel Kittel, who launched his sprint first with Lawless following.
Jakobsen, who had been well placed by his team-mates, pushed round to the right and his kick was enough to confirm his victory well ahead of the finish line. German Walscheid was able to jump on the wheel of Jakobsen and hold on to take second place ahead of Briton Lawless, who took third place for a second consecutive year.
How it happened
The 2019 Scheldeprijs ran over 202.3km from Borsele to Schoten, with very few challenged along the flat route.
The strong crosswind along the way looked like it could be the riders’ biggest challenge, and it stopped a breakaway from forming early on thanks to the initial high pace.
At just under 180km to go two riders, Kenny Van Bilsen (Cofidis Solutions Credits) and Tom Wirtgen (Wallonie Bruxelles), were able to make a break for it, but they were held within tight reach with a maximum gap of 50 seconds.
Not long after the wind caused the bunch to split for the first time, with around 40 riders forming a second group on the road with just over 160km remaining.
That split meant the pace jumped up again with the main group then splitting again to form three distinct large groups, and it wasn’t long until the two breakaway riders were brought back by the first bunch, which now led by around 20 seconds on the next group and 1-30 on the last.
The pace remained high as the kilometres ticked down, with the last group dropping further back to almost four minutes. As they entered the last 100km the pace was still fast and not allowing anyone to try and breakaway again.
With around 70km to go and lull in the speed, Kenny Van Bilsen struck out again and was eventually joined by Dries De Bondt (Corendon-Circus).
Finally they were allowed to gain some time, with the leading peloton now giving them over two minutes advantage.
At around 30km to go that had dropped to just over a minute and now the sprint trains began to amass on the front of the bunch with an eye on the finale.
The leading pair continued to hold on as Deceuninck-Quick-Step took control of the chasing group, eventually bringing them back with 14km to go.
A crash in the peloton was the next decisive moment just a few kilometres later, with Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin) hitting the deck.
With the peloton held up, Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) then went solo with 12km to go, gaining around 20 seconds advantage. He was briefly joined by Lionel Taminiaux (Wallonie-Bruxelles), before continuing solo.
The Norwegian made it to around 3km to go before he relented to the pace of the bunch, driven on by Quick-Step, who were able to to then set up Jakobsen for the sprint finish.
Scheldeprijs 2019: Borsele to Schoten (202.3km)
1 Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Deceuninck-Quick-Step, 4-26-45
2 Maximilian Walscheid (Ger) Team Sunweb
3 Christopher Lawless (GBr) Team Sky
4 Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
5 Roy Jans (Bel) Corendon-Circus
6 Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Vital Concept-B&B Hotel
7 Marco Haller (Aut) Katusha-Alpecin
8 Emils Liepins (Lat) Wallonie Bruxelles
9 Jasper Philipsen (Bel) UAE Team Emirates
10 Matteo Moschetti (Ita) Trek-Segafredo