Fabio Jakobsen has won the first stage of the 14th BinckBank Tour. In tough conditions Jakobsen won a bunch sprint ahead of Marcel Kittel en Caleb Ewan as he took the overall lead.
The peloton gathered at football club Heerenveen's Abe Lenstra Stadium for a 177 km stage from Heerenveen to Bolsward. Six riders formed an early breakaway: Holland's Julius Van den Berg (EF Education First) and Elmar Reinders (Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij), Belgians Dries De Bondt (Veranda's Willems - Crelan), Dimitri Peyskens (WB Aqua Protect-Veranclassic) and Thomas Sprengers (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and the Italian Manuele Boaro (Bahrain-Merida).
The rain and wind made a seemingly 'easy' flat stage way harder than anticipated. The sprinters' teams, particularly LottoNL-Jumbo (for Groenewegen), Quick-Step Floors (for Jakobsen) and Mitchelton-Scott (voor Ewan) worked hard to keep the breakaway within their grasp, never giving them more than four minutes.
With 13 kilometres to go the six riders were caught as it finally stopped raining. De Bondt did enough to take the lead in the Primus combativity classification by coming through in first position at the first Primus Checkpunt and in second at the second point. De Bondt and Reinders also grabbed the most seconds of the breakaway, scoring five seconds in the Binck Golden Kilometre, a triple intermediate sprint placed at 22 km from the finish.
A bunch sprint was inevitable, although Jan Willem Van Schip (Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij) tried to defy the odds with a late attack. The lead-out trains fought each other hard, with Quick-Step Floors installing its sprinter Fabio Jakobsen in pole position. The Dutchman finished off the job superbly with a powerful sprint, beating Marcel Kittel, Caleb Ewan, Kristoffer Halvorsen, Max Walscheid and Dylan Groenewegen. By virtue of ten bonus seconds for the stage winner, Jakobsen is also the first leader of the BinckBank Tour. He will defend his green leader's jersey in Tuesday's 12.7 kilometre individual time-trial in Venray.