Sprinter Fabio Jakobsen has admitted that he could miss the time cut in Thursday's brutal Tour de France stage that finishes atop Alpe d'Huez.
The Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl rider was the last man to cross the line on stage 11, finishing 40 minutes behind stage winner and the new yellow jersey Jonas Vingegaard.
He was supported by most of his teammates for the majority of the day, sitting just behind a group containing his sprint rival Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) who 24 hours earlier had confessed that he thought his Tour was coming to an imminent end.
Immediately upon arriving back at his team's bus after finishing three minutes ahead of the time cut, the Dutchman pointed to the cassette of his gears and said to a mechanic: "I would like a 34 tomorrow please."
"For sure, the Galibier is not my best friend," the 25-year-old told Cycling Weekly. "I think there is where I suffered the most, especially in the last four or five kilometres. But I made the time cut so goal achieved."
Asked if he thought that he was in danger of finishing outside the time limit, he quipped: "I didn't think much today - I just pushed one leg in front of the other. In the end everybody was convinced I could do it, so I went out there and fought.
"There's usually two or three tough days in a Grand Tour, and I would put this one in the top-five for sure."
Thursday's stage takes on the Col du Galibier yet again, before tackling the Col de la Croix de Fer ahead of the mythical Alpe, a succession of three HC climbs.
Jakobsen denied that he was confident of finishing ahead of the broom wagon, saying: "It's going to be the same I think. It's going to be a big fight. Let's hope I can make it.
"You never know. This is cycling: we fight day-by-day, and for sure Thursday is going to be the hardest.
"But you never know what will happen after that. I would say that there is a good chance of making Paris if I survive."
Following Thursday's stage, there are three transition days before the second rest day, with Sunday's finish into Carcassonne a potential bunch sprint.
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