AN EXAMPLE, WITH OR WITHOUT BIKE. A rider who devotes himself to his team-mates wherever it’s needed; an explosive competitor, a fast finisher, one who likes to go on the attack; a charming guy outside the race, polite, genuinely sympathetic, tremendously professional. Johan Jacobs has been one of the Movistar Team’s best news in recent years, results not playing an impact on that consideration. A strong rouleur, the Swiss rider has full confidence from his leaders and takes on that pulling role so necessary at many events, while not ruling out taking on individual duties into breaks he performs so intelligently at. 2022 was a difficult season for him, especially on the second half due to covid before the TDF and a collarbone fracture in the Tour de Pologne. He deserves that good luck comes his way back in 2023, what will be his fourth season in Blue colours.
CAME FROM THE MUD – AND WENT BACK! Johan had taken the leap towards the road from cyclo-cross, a discipline he excelled at as a junior and was thought to be a future superstar. However, he lost the feel and love for CX as an under-23 rider, even thinking about an early stop from cycling altogether. He was then called up by Lotto-Soudal U23 in 2019, an excellent launchpad for this powerhouse’s career before heading into the WorldTour with the Movistar Team, where he took 2nd at Paris-Roubaix Espoirs, wore the Swiss national team jersey at the Tour de l’Avenir and the Worlds (long break in Yorkshire) and finished 7th at De Ronde Beloften. Four years after leaving cyclo-cross, he returned to ‘het veld’ in the winter of 2022 as part of the Movistar Team, riding some World Cup and Superprestige events to rediscover the love for mud.
UNUSUAL ORIGINS. Due to her work journeys, Jacobs’ mom, born in Switzerland, met his father, a Belgian, and both ended up living in the Helvetic country, where the young Johan was born. However, and actually as a result of his cyclo-cross career, he ended up living in the Flemish coast, where he spends most of the year -and lives with his wife, Charlotte, also the daughter of a cyclo-cross rider- and lives and breathes the atmosphere of his beloved classics. He speaks perfect Dutch, and that may deceive those with a not-so-trained eye, but don’t make any mistakes: he’s a proud Swiss, actually just the third in more than 40 years of Abarca Sports rosters, after Fabian Fuchs and Alex Zülle.