By Benjy Howard
The Tour of California has proved fertile ground for super-team Deceuninck – Quick-Step, as the Belgian outfit racked up its 29th win of the season on stage four.
What makes this feat even more commendable is that it hasn’t just been a couple of riders collecting the victories: 11 have contributed to the total.
Promising young sprinter Fabio Jakobsen provided a strong finish into Morro Bay to record a third successive victory with as many riders for Deceuninck – Quick-Step at the Tour of California – the first outfit ever to do so in the race.
The 22-year-old triumphed over no less than three-time world champion Peter Sagan in the fast, uphill finish after an impressive lead-out from Michael Mørkøv, Maximiliano Richeze and Zdenek Štybar, demonstrating the astounding strength in depth of the Belgian outfit.
When asked to comment on his team’s remarkable show of strength at this year’s Tour of California, the stage winner replied: “What makes us so successful? We are a great group of riders, all willing to sacrifice ourselves and work hard for each other.
“It’s worth mentioning also that we came here in good shape and the previous wins this week gave us a lot of confidence, so we’re just riding the wave at the moment and seizing every opportunity we get.”
On stage two, Quick-Step’s Danish rider Kasper Asgreen powered to an impressive victory at Lake Tahoe, before climber Rémi Cavagna made it two in two with an exceptional solo ride on stage three. Jakobsen then rounded off the hat-trick by providing his team with their 29th win of the year.
Yet Quick-Step’s superiority hasn’t been limited to stage wins – Asgreen currently sits in third place overall, just seven seconds down on current leader and previous winner Tejay van Garderen.
Following yesterday’s controversial drama on stage four, which saw Van Garderen handed back the lead after losing time to a mechanical, some might argue that 24 year-old Asgreen should already be in the yellow jersey.
And with each of the last three stages offering the chance for the GC contenders to gain time on Van Garderen, the Asgreen is still in the fight for the overall crown, further adding to Quick-Step’s unrivalled palmarès.