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Fabio Jakobsen and Sam Bennett sprint it out during Vuelta 2019. Both riders have now been through the ‘QuickStep protected sprinter experience’ and are out the other side, sharing some of the same fears for the seasons ahead (Photo: Luis Angel Gomez)

Fabio Jakobsen is moving on from Patrick Lefevere’s Soudal-QuickStep, and after six years with that team he has echoed some of the fears still on Sam Bennett’s mind two years after leaving that team.

Jakobsen said while ‘QuickStep’ was always the preferred team for sprinters, because of the quality of the lead-out and the opportunities to win Grand Tour stages, that set-up no longer existed.

He added reigning TT world champion, Remco Evenepoel, was the star of the team, around whom it was now being built. That had resulted in such a fundamental change to the team’s goals and structures, that it was no longer the place for the fast men, as it had been for decades.

In recent weeks Sam Bennett said he wanted to get back to the top of pro cycling with his move to Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale. He wanted to leave behind a muted two-year period with Bora-hansgrohe, where things didn’t quite work out. He also shared some of his fears about ‘life after QuickStep’ which still linger for him two years on.

“I don’t want to be seen as one of those sprinters who left Quick-Step and couldn’t win anymore. I just know that’s not me,” Bennett said at the time, adding he felt compelled to prove to himself he could achieve top success after QuickStep.

And now Jakobsen has said the same thing, pointing out he must overcome a history that shows not many riders get better after leaving QuickStep. He was determine to be an exception to the rule during the next three seasons at Team dsm-firmenich PostNL.

“Wout Poels was better (after leaving QuickStep) but there’s not many,” Jakobsen told the Global Cycling Network.

“I understand what Sam has said and I hope to improve too but the way that team was structured for sprinters was with phenomenal Classics riders for lead-out riders and it was hard to find that in another team.

“The set-up, for the last ten years, it’s hard to find that elsewhere but that structure isn’t there anymore and the past is the past. I think you can leave a team like that and still reach a decent level. Matteo Trentin was good, (Michał) Kwiatkowski too. There are a few examples but I want to win races.”

He added he felt no resentment over the fact Patrick Lefevere had opted to invest in the team around Evenepoel, with general classification in major races in mind, rather than sprint stages.

“Remco is someone you have to invest in and if I was running the team then I would do the same. It hurts, and it’s my personal pain, but I understand,” he said.

“The way Patrick works is that if he can’t offer you his best then he won’t offer anything. In the end, there was no offer so I didn’t have to make a choice. He didn’t want to give me a programme that didn’t fit what I was capable of. We’ve parted ways but in a good way.”

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