WHAT A 2020 SEASON! The Movistar Team really needed a change and some good news in 2020, and Johan Jacobs’ arrival was really significant in both senses. His affable character, his professionalism and his riding style, always on the attack, were liked by team-mates and fans alike. He did well in his first round of Northern Classics -long break in Gent-Wevelgem-; showed his combative spirit at Provence, Coppi-Bartali or the European Championships; and capped off a great WorldTour debut with a 4th place at the Swiss RR Champs. Really good results for someone who was covering only his second season 100% focused on road racing.
CAME FROM THE MUD. 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.
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 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.
He stays for most of the year in the Belgian coastline, training near cities well known to cycling fans, such as Middelkerke, De Panne or Dunkerque. His partner, Charlotte, is actually a daughter and granddaughter of riders: her father, Ivan Messelis, was a fine CX specialist, and her grandfather, André, even won the E3 Harelbeke in the 1960s.
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