2 of the best runners on the same team. At Soudal-Quick Step they’ve made it a specialty.
Last year, Mark Cavendish lost the competitive battle against Fabio Jacobson, who won a stage in the Tour. The previous year, Sam Bennett had lost to Mark Cavendish.
“In the last five years I’ve always been surrounded by other great runners within this team who have been as good or better than me,” says Fabio Jacobsen. “So it’s just me.”
The Dutchman saw his old rival leave with Cavendish last winter. With a Belgian champion Tim Merler He has a new fellow enemy.
How is the relationship between the European champion and the Belgian?
“I get along really well with Tim’s best friend, Bert van Lerberghe, he’s been my companion for 3 years. That’s why I also get along very well with Tim,” Jacobsen explains.
“Although Tim and I are rivals, we will also need each other and the team will need us.”
“So I don’t think that’s going to cause any problems,” Jacobsen says.
“I want to ride the Tour and Tim also wants to ride the Tour, and rightfully so. This is the best sport. Thiem also wears a beautiful jersey (Belgian tricolour). We will both strive for it.”
What does Tim Merler – who made the switch from Alpecin-Deceuninck – think of his rival Jacobsen?
“Fabio wants to win races and I want to win races,” says the Belgian champion. “Our programs are already set and there are enough races for both of us.”
Each of the runners will start the season on a different continent. Jacobsen goes with Evenbol to San Juan (in Argentina).
Merler can achieve his first sprint successes at the Tour of Oman and the Tour of the United Arab Emirates.
In Gent-Wevelgem they would usually start together. “This race is definitely a big target,” confirms Merler.
Jacobsen also circled Gent-Wevelgem in red. “It’s one of my dream races because I haven’t won it yet.”
At Soudal-Quick Step, they see no problem with the fact that they have to keep two races per race satisfied.
In fact, Tom Stills throws a third dog. “Britain’s Ethan Vernon is a diamond out in the open and has all the qualities to become a great sprinter.”
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