SEG’s Fabio Jakobsen Gets PEZ’d!
Rider Interview: Dutch Under23 champion, Fabio Jakobsen, has come up through the ranks and in 2018 he will be part of the WorldTour with the Quick-Step Floors team. Ed Hood caught up with the young SEG Racing Academy rider from Heukelem to hear his thoughts on his past and future.
Fabio Jakobsen wins the Eschborn-Frankfurt Classic’17
Today PEZ had the pleasure of chatting to a young man who’s had the WorldTour talent scouts taking note of his name since the spring, SEG Racing Academy’s 21 year-old Dutchman Fabio Jakobsen. But like the man himself says; when Quick-Step’s Patrick Lefevere makes you an offer, you don’t say; “no!”
Jakobsen’s first two junior seasons showed promise but it wasn’t until he was second in The Netherlands U23 Road race Championship in 2015 that his real potential emerged. Last season saw him win the U23 national title, take a stage in the ZLM Tour, win the UCi 1.2 Slag om Norg and finish top 20 in the U23 Worlds – but this season he’s climbed to another level again, with eight, or is it nine major wins?
Jakobsen – A happy champion
The man from Heukelem in The Netherlands took time to speak to PEZ as he enjoys his winter break.
PEZ: Thank you for speaking to us, Fabio and congratulations on the contract with Quick-Step. We make it eight wins this year; two stages in the Olympia Tour, a stage in the Tour de l’Avenir, a stage in the Tour of Alsace, the Profonde van Noord-Holland, the Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt and a stage in the Tour of Normandie – have we missed anything?
Fabio Jakobsen: Yes, I won the Ster van Zwolle in March as well.
2017 Dutch National Under 23 championships
PEZ: Which win gives you most satisfaction?
For a sprinter to win a stage in l’Avenir is about as big a win as you can achieve in U23 cycling. But it’s always a good feeling to win on home soil and the stages in the Olympia Tour were nice to win too – they were typical Dutch races, bad weather with windy conditions and very nervous.
PEZ: You were DNF in the Worlds, that must have been a disappointment?
I crashed, it was my own fault, the Worlds is an extremely nervous race and I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was a tough parcours for a sprinter and by the time I got up off the ground and got organized, the lead group had gone and the gap was just too much.
The National champion goes solo
PEZ: Tell us about your Quick-Step Floors’ contract, please.
I’m very happy, a dream come true. Quick-Step was always on my list of ‘dream teams’ and to be offered a two year deal by them was something special. I was talking to other teams but QuickStep made me an offer half way through the season and when Patrick Lefevere makes you an offer it’s almost one ‘you can’t refuse!’ It’s one of the best teams in the world – a group of guys who simply love winning races and I’m so pleased to be part of it.
A win in the Tour of Normandie
PEZ: When’s your first get together with the team?
I’ve already met them when I visited the team at the Tour de France. We have our first training camp in Calpe, Spain on December 10th so I’m looking forward to that.
Warm-up time for Fabio
PEZ: Do you have any indication of what your program will look like?
It’s a little early, the team is still working on that but it will be about small stage races and also semi-classics.
PEZ: Would you describe yourself as a pure sprinter or is the more to you than that?
That’s difficult to answer, I’m still finding myself as a rider, I know I have a fast sprint so I have to focus on that but I’m still developing as a rider. If I can win sprints then that’s my goal but I know there’s a big difference between U23 races and professional races.
PEZ: What’s your favorite type of race.
A normal stage with maybe a few hills which ends in a sprint – what’s really in my favor is if the finish is slightly uphill and all about power, I excel in those situations.
PEZ: Do you have a coach?
With SEG Racing Academy my coach was Peter Schep (former six day star and World Points Race Champion, ed.) who I have worked with for the last three years. I learned do much from him and have to thank him for being such a good teacher but now that I am with Quick-Step there will be a trainer for me from the team. I think it’s a good thing, it gets more involved with my profession and I know Peter has a lot of projects he is working on so he’s very busy.
Winning the 2017 Dutch Under23 championships in ‘s Heerenberg
PEZ: Going back to the beginning, when did you start racing?
I started racing when I was 10 or 11 years-old but not a lot – as the years went by I became more and more serious and by the time was 14 or 15 and on a small team I knew that cycling was what I wanted to do. I joined SEG Racing Academy three seasons ago and started to work with Peter, ever since then my goal was to be professional. It’s been a pretty smooth progression but not an easy one!
PEZ: Tell us about SEG Racing Academy.
I started with them three years ago just when the team began, in my first U23 year and have been with them ever since. I have learned so much about training, nutrition, racing and the psychology of the sport. As well as working with Peter Schep, I worked with Michiel Elijzen, he was a pro with Omega Pharma – he won the Duo Normand with Bradley Wiggins in 2007 and was a DS with Blanco and Belkin. I’ve learned so much from them both. I took on all the knowledge they gave me with both hands!
The SEG boys
PEZ: What are you looking for from season 2018?
I’d like to develop myself as a rider and perhaps – even if it sounds a little cheeky – I’d like to win. I’m going to prepare well this winter learn as much as I can from my new team mates and the staff – so it’s a season to ride my bike and listen!
PEZ: And if you could win just one race. . .
Ster van Zwolle – Topcompetitie for U-23
PEZ: A final, perhaps cheeky question – what treat are you going to award yourself with your first Quick-Step pay cheque?
Nothing. I’ve made a deal with myself, there will be no fancy sports car before I have made it so that my parents never have to work again. You have to remember those who made it possible for you to be in the situation you are in life.
# PEZ looks forward to monitoring Fabio’s progress on the World Tour’s most successful team – 55 wins to date, this season. With thanks to David Soteras of SEG Racing Academy for his cooperation on this interview. #
It was November 2005 when Ed Hood first penned a piece for PEZ, on US legend Mike Neel. Since then he’s covered all of the Grand Tours and Monuments for PEZ and has an article count in excess of 1,500 in the archive. He was a Scottish champion cyclist himself – many years and kilograms ago – and still owns a Klein Attitude, Dura Ace carbon Giant and a Fixie. He and fellow Scot and PEZ contributor Martin Williamson run the Scottish site www.veloveritas.co.uk where more of his musings on our sport can be found.