Fabio Jakobsen celebrated his 25th birthday by collecting his third stage win of this year's Vuelta a Espana.

The Dutchman once again proved himself the class of the sprinting field, showing he is in the best form of his career one year after the devastating crash at the Tour of Poland which had threatened to end it.

But Jakobsen, who had already won stages four and eight, was made to work for his victory on the 180km stage 16 from Laredo to Santa Cruz de Bezana.

UAE Team Emirates, working for Matteo Trentin, put the hammer down on an uncategorised climb a little over 50km from the finish and successfully split the peloton to distance Jakobsen.

But his Deceuninck-QuickStep team-mates upped the pace to nearly 80kmh on the gradual descent to bring it back together - and got their reward at the finish.

"A birthday is always a good day but I'm over the moon with this win," said Jakobsen.

"What we saw today was 'the Wolfpack'. I was dropped on the climb but the guys waited for me and they bring me back. I won because of them. The only thing I can do is a short fast sprint but the rest is down to them.

"I am never confident but I always try because if you don't try you don't win."

A tight, twisty finish saw the sprint trains break up, but Jakobsen had the power to come around Bora-Hansgrohe's Jordi Meeus, while Trentin settled for third.

The victory sees Jakobsen - who was left with a serious brain trauma and in a life-threatening condition after his crash in Poland last August - extend his commanding advantage in the points leader's green jersey.

The sprint finish meant no major changes in the overall standings, in which Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert's Odd Christian Eiking leads by 54 seconds from Cofidis' Guillaume Martin.

Favourite and defending champion Primoz Roglic sits third, one minute 36 seconds down, before Wednesday's much-anticipated mountain stage to Lagos de Covadonga.