SANTA CRUZ DE BEZANA, Spain — Fabio Jakobsen celebrated his 25th birthday with his third stage win at this year’s Spanish Vuelta, with Odd Christian Eiking holding on to the overall lead.
Jakobsen prevailed along with his Deceuninck-Quick Step teammates through the twisty finale of the 180-kilometer (111.8-mile) 16th stage that took riders from Laredo to Santa Cruz de Bezana in northern Spain.
Jakobsen, who had also won the fourth and eighth stages, finished the sprint ahead of Jordi Meeus and Matteo Trentin.
“A birthday is always a good day, but I’m over the moon with this win,” Jakobsen said. “I was dropped on the climb. The guys waited for me, they brought me back and I win the race. It’s all thanks to them. The only thing I had to do was a short fast sprint, and they did everything else today.”
The Dutch rider has been enjoying his greatest results since being involved in a horrific crash that left him fighting for his life in an induced coma more than a year ago.
There was no change at the top of the general classification, with Eiking comfortably staying ahead of Guillaume Martin and two-time defending Vuelta champion Primoz Roglic.
“Tactically speaking, it was maybe my easiest day in the red jersey but in another way it was hard to restart after the rest day,” Eiking said. “I felt OK but sleepy all day. In the end, it wasn’t difficult to defend the red jersey today.”
The Norwegian rider said the Lagos de Covadonga will be “very decisive” on Wednesday.
“It will be a really hard racing from the start,” Eiking said. “It will be a lot of fun to race up there.”
The 185-kilometer (115-mile) 17th stage will see riders complete two loops around a circuit that includes an unprecedented climb at Collada Llomena before they take on the difficult Lagos de Covadonga summit.