Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo Visma) has made his first public statement after being disqualified from the Tour de Pologne for causing a crash that led to Fabio Jakobsen being rushed to a hospital and placed in a medically induced coma.
The crash took place during the opening sprint finish in Poland, with Groenewegen moving his sprint line from the centre of the road to the right-hand side. His actions forced Jakobsen into the barriers at high-speed with the Dutch national champion smashing through the roadside safety equipment and into a race official who was left unconscious.
Jakobsen was the most seriously affected rider, although several others – including Groenegwegen – also fell. Jakobsen was rushed to hospital and although the diagnosis thankfully showed no signs of brain or spinal damage he underwent five and half hours of reconstructive facial surgery. His parents and girlfriend have travelled to be by his side in Poland, while doctors are hopeful of bringing the 23-year-old out of his coma at some point on Thursday.
Groenewegen, who suffered a fractured collarbone in the crash after the finish line, was disqualified from the race and fined, with the UCI releasing a statement that placed the full blame for the incident onto the shoulders of the Jumbo Visma rider. His team also apologized for the crash.
"Our thoughts go out to Fabio Jakobsen and other people involved in today’s terrible crash in the Tour of Poland. Crashes like these should not happen," Jumbo-Visma published to its social media channel.
"We offer our sincere apologies and we will discuss internally what has happened before we may make any further statement."
On Thursday, with news of Jakobsen’s stable condition released to the public, Groenewegen took to social media for the first time since the crash.
“I hate what happened yesterday,” Groenewegen wrote on Twitter. “I can't find the words to describe how sorry I am for Fabio and others who have been crashed or hit. At the moment, the health of Fabio is the most important thing. I think about him constantly.”
The peloton has been united in their support for Jakobsen and his recovery, while riders have voiced their concerns over the safety measures in place. Several riders have criticsied the finish used on stage 1 of the Tour de Pologne, which features a downhill sprint.
While the UCI’s statement has addressed Groenewegen’s role in the crash and opened up the chance of further disciplinary measures being taken, former sprinter Robbie McEwen has called on the sport’s governing body to look at their own position when it comes to rider safety and roadside barriers.
“They [ed. the UCI] should finally start listening to the riders and the CPA. There needs to be a certain set of guidelines for every race, no matter what level of racing or location,” McEwen told Cyclingnews.
Ik vind het verschrikkelijk wat er gisteren gebeurd is. Ik kan de woorden niet vinden om te beschrijven hoe erg ik het vind voor Fabio en anderen die zijn gevallen of geraakt.Op dit moment is vooral de gezondheid van Fabio het allerbelangrijkste. Ik denk aan hem, constant.August 6, 2020
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Daniel Benson is the Editor in Chief at both Cyclingnews.com and BikePerfect.com. Based in the UK, he has worked within cycling for almost 15 years, and he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he has reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he runs the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.
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