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Fabio Jakobsen returns to Netherlands: 'It's a miracle' says team doctor

Dutch road race champion Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-QuickStep) on stage 6 of the 2019 Vuelta a España
Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-QuickStep) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Dutch champion Fabio Jakobsen is back in the Netherlands, having returned to his home country a week after his terrible crash in the Tour de Pologne. Jakobsen travelled from a specialist hospital in Sosnowiec, Poland to the Netherlands, where he will receive additional treatment at the Leiden University Medical Center.

His Deceuninck-Quickstep team doctor Yvan Vanmol dispelled some rumours around his injuries, saying that the rider had no damage to his legs.

"Everyone has seen what a heavy fall this was," Vanmol said, according to Sporza. "If you now see that Fabio is mobile again, that he can stand up again, that he has no fractures to his lower limbs, yes: then you can safely speak of a miracle."

Jakobsen crashed through the roadside barricades on the Tour de Pologne's opening stage after Jumbo-Visma sprinter Dylan Groenewegen deviated from his line in the final sprint and cut him off. Groenewegen was disqualified and fined, and has taken responsibility for his actions and apologized, but is still facing possible additional punishment after the UCI referred the incident to its Disciplinary Commission.

Now, less than a week after undergoing five hours of reconstructive surgery to his face, Jakobsen was able to walk from the ambulance to the plane to return home.

Vanmol said that reports that Jakobsen's windpipe had been crushed were not true. The rider cannot talk because of damage to his jaw and the muscles around his mouth and lips.

"Immediately after the fall, his airway was intubated, but it was not shattered. Talking is not possible at the moment, but Fabio understands everything. He now communicates through the screen of his phone.

"I certainly expect that he will be able to speak again. The muscles around his mouth and lips were badly damaged, but that will be fine again."

In addition to a fracture to his upper and lower jaw, Jakobsen also fractured a thumb, but there was no damage to his legs, sinuses, or eye sockets and he had no brain injury.

"The greatest damage has been done to his teeth, which he has lost. But plastic surgery has progressed so much in recent years that I suspect that the traces of that fall will barely be visible later on."

Jakobsen can also remember everything until the last few hundred metres of the race and is well aware that he can consider himself fortunate to be relatively well off.

"As with any trauma, it is logical that there will be some confrontation between that realization and reality," says Vanmol. "That will lead to difficult moments, but the realization that this is more than a proverbial half-miracle dominates."

Vanmol said he is confident that Jakobsen will race again. "I'm not going to make any statements about deadlines. But if you ask me whether Jakobsen will become a rider again, I have very few doubts about that and more hope."