Fabio Jakobsen storms to victory in first 'The Challenge Of Stars' virtual cycling race

The Dutch road racing champion admitted he had nerves ahead of his victory, shown live on Olympic Channel.

Dutch national road cycling champion Fabio Jakobsen sprinted to glory in the first 'The Challenge of Stars' virtual race, live on Olympic Channel.

The event saw eight of the top male sprint riders competed in a straight knockout format from the comfort of their homes on Saturday (23 May), using stationary bikes and connecting over the internet, to race on a 1.2km course in the Tuscan countryside.

"It's longer than normal sprint, the legs are definitely in pain," the 23-year-old said after the final. "You have to look at the screen, stay as close as possible, and then with 400 or 500 metres to go I gave everything I have, destroyed the bike and sprinted to finish line.

"It's actually quite fun to do this small race. I was a little nervous before it, but of course I'm missing the Giro d'Italia at the moment, where I would have raced, which is a pity."

Pure sprinter prevails

Team Arkéa-Samsic sprinter Jakobsen eased away 2019 world championships gold medallist Mads Pederson in the first round, before dominating Pascal Ackermann in the semi-final.

His final opponent was pursuit specialist Filippo Ganna, who caused an upset in his first-round heat to beat compatriot sprinter Matteo Trentin on the line.

Team Ineos rider Ganna used the slip stream to great affect in his semi-final victory over Lotto–Soudal's Jasper de Buyst, but did not have enough left in his legs in the final.

Jakobsen recorded an output of 1000 watts in the final quarter to leave Ganna in his wake and seal the victory.

Climbers clash up next

The competition continues on Sunday May 24, as the climbing specialists tackle a 2.9km ascent on the Stelvio climb, with an average gradient of 8.69% that peaks at 12.75%.

Four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome and one-time winner Vincenzo Nibali headline a star-studded group.

Knockout races:

Jakob Fuglsang (Astana Pro Team) vs Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo)

Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo) vs Simon Geschke (CCC Team)

Rafał Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) vs Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal)

Chris Froome (Team Ineos) vs Warren Barguil (Team Arkéa-Samsic)

Catch the action from 14:30 GMT on Olympic Channel, by clicking on this link (geo-restrictions may apply).

Climbers | The Challenge of Stars
Climbers | The Challenge of StarsClimbers | The Challenge of Stars

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