There’s nothing like getting the season started with a GC battle on your first race day. But that didn’t phase Jakob Fuglsang. IPT’s Danish newcomer dug deep to deliver a strong eighth place on Vuelta a la Comunitat Valenciana stage 1 to make his intentions clear for the 2022 season.

Not only was it Jakob’s first race day in more than five months, but it was his first with his IPT teammates.

“It was really good with the guys. Of course, we have to get used to each other a little bit but the guys did a really good job to bring me in position for the last climb and keep me out of trouble. I’m really happy with the work they did and I think it was a good start for us,” said Jakob.

With a blistering pace set at the front of the bunch when the breakaway was caught just over 20 kilometers from the finish line, the peloton quickly reduced in size until Jakob found himself in the first 20 on the road. With around seven kilometers to go, he tested the waters with an attack of his own.

“I’m super happy with my performance. Not only was I able to be there, not all the way in front but in the group with most of the favorites, in quite a hard final, but I was also able to try something. I just missed a bit to manage to get away. But, all in all, I’m really happy and I showed that the winter training paid off as I basically didn’t race since the Olympics. I was curious to see. I was convinced that I would be good but you never know, especially compared to how the other guys are going.”

As for the GC fight, it will all come down to the queen stage on Friday where stage winner Remco Evenepoel is the man to beat.

“I think everyone expected Remco to go but when he went, nobody seemed to have the legs to react. It was just as I got caught and I saw him go and I thought “I hope someone else will follow and I can go on the wheel” but nobody tried or was able to. That’s racing. He chose the right moment and everyone knew he would be strong and he showed today, he was the strongest. We’ll see in a few days how it goes but he’s the guy to beat at the moment.”