Had it not been for Mark Cavendish’s spectacular comeback trio of wins, the story of the 2021 Tour of Turkey would have been all about Fabio Jakobsen’s return to the sport.
The Dutch sprinter lined up at his first race since his horrific crash at the Tour of Poland, saying beforehand how he was here to feel his way back into the peloton, and that it was the latest step in what he hopes is the direction back towards the top of the sport.
Jakobsen has finished every stage so far, helping contribute to Cavendish’s stage wins at the sharp end of the race, and even finishing 39th on stage three.
Cavendish has now paid tribute to his Deceuninck – Quick-Step team-mate, calling him an inspiration.
“This kid…” Cavendish wrote on Instagram, sharing a picture of him and Jakobsen from Turkey.
“Last time I was at Tour of Turkey I was smoked by Fabio Jakobsen in what was my last podium finish. I knew how good a rider he was, but I didn’t know the person behind the rider.
“Fast forward two years and we’re at this very same race, both calling it ‘comebacks’ for very different reasons. But what’s special is we’re doing it as team-mates.
“And I tell you what, he’s my inspiration. Not just how he’s fought back to racing his bike after the most horrific accident you could imagine, but his attitude to life. How he leads a group, how he treats staff members and people around him, his work ethic and his love of this sport.
“It’s special. Here will be a superstar of the sport. And I’m proud to be able to witness just a tiny part of it.”
On stage four, Jakobsen stopped short of the finish line to check on American rider Noah Granigan (Wildlife Generation Pro Cycling) who had crashed into the barriers during the sprint finish.
Thankfully, Granigan didn’t suffer any broken bones, only required stitches for some cuts.