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Fabio Jakobsen: There is light at the end of the tunnel

ALTO DA FIA MONCHIQUE PORTUGAL FEBRUARY 20 Start Fabio Jakobsen of The Netherlands and Team Deceuninck Quick Step Yellow Leader Jersey Diego Lopez of Spain and Team Fundacin Orbea Blue Mountain Jersey Sagres Vila do Bispo during the 46th Volta ao Algarve 2020 Stage 2 a 1839 km stage from Sagres Vila do Bispo to Alto da Fia 884m Monchique VAlgarve2020 on February 20 2020 in Alto da Fia Monchique Portugal Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images
Fabio Jakoben at the 2020 Volta ao Algarve (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-QuickStep) has given the latest update on his recovery from his life-threatening crash last August, saying there's "light at the end of the tunnel." 

The Dutchman crashed in the finish straight of the opening stage of the 2020 Tour de Pologne and suffered a brain contusion, skull fracture, broken nose, torn palate, the loss of 10 teeth, and loss of parts of his upper and lower jaw.

He has undergone multiple maxillofacial surgeries, the latest of which was three weeks ago, when he had implants inserted into his jaw in preparation for a new set of teeth. 

"Almost time to restart again! Healing process seems to be going well. The last three weeks have been painful and I struggled with eating and drinking," Jakobsen said in a post to social media on Friday.  

"Implants/screws are in and scar tissue removal/reconstruction completed. Now it will take another 4/5 months to let everything heal and grow strong before I’ll get my ‘new’ teeth."

Despite the four to five-month time frame for getting his new teeth in place, there's a chance he could return to resume his racing career before then. Jakobsen has already been riding his bike, and even joined his Deceuninck-QuickStep teammates on a training camp in January. After recovering from the latest operation, he hopes to pick that up again. 

"Monday the stitches will be removed and I hope to get back to training," he said.  

"In this way I would like to thank everybody that helped me get this far in my recovery process. There is light at the end of the tunnel and I’m going for it!"

In January, Jakobsen didn't put a date on a possible return to competition, but suggested that if the latest surgery went well, "then maybe on or two months after I can race again".

Back in January, teammate and lead-out man Michael Mørkøv said that he had been training with Jakobsen, adding that "he is at a good level" and "I don't think it will be long before he's at the forefront of races again."

Jakobsen's update comes a day after it was announced that the Tour de Pologne will not return to the scene of the crash, the downhill finish in Katowice, which has long been flagged as dangerous given the high speeds involved. 

The UCI has also introduced new standards for finish straight barriers, after those in Poland collapsed on impact. Dylan Groenewegen, who caused the crash when he deviated from his sprinting line, received a nine-month ban and will only be able to return to racing in May. 

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Deputy Editor - Europe. Patrick is an NCTJ-trained journalist who has seven years’ experience covering professional cycling. He has a modern languages degree from Durham University and has been able to put it to some use in what is a multi-lingual sport, with a particular focus on French and Spanish-speaking riders. After joining Cyclingnews as a staff writer on the back of work experience, Patrick became Features Editor in 2018 and oversaw significant growth in the site’s long-form and in-depth output. Since 2021 he has been Deputy Editor - Europe, taking more responsibility for the site’s content as a whole, while still writing and - despite a pandemic-induced hiatus - travelling to races around the world. Away from cycling, Patrick spends most of his time playing or watching other forms of sport - football, tennis, trail running, darts, to name a few, but he draws the line at rugby.