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Groenewegen happy to see Jakobsen racing after crash that changed their lives

KATOWICE POLAND AUGUST 05 Sprint Arrival Dylan Groenewegen of The Netherlands and Team Jumbo Visma Fabio Jakobsen of The Netherlands and Team Deceuninck QuickStep Marc Sarreau of France and Team Groupama FDJ Ryan Gibbons of South Africa and NTT Pro Cycling Team Moreno Hofland of The Netherlands and Team EF Education First during the 77th Tour of Poland 2020 Stage 1 a 1958km stage from Silesian StadiumChorzw to SpodekKatowice TourdePologne tdp20 on August 05 2020 in Katowice Poland Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images
Groenewegen and Jakobsen crash at the 2020 Tour de Pologne (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Dylan Groenewegen has said he is happy to see Fabio Jakobsen back racing, eight months after the high-speed crash at the Tour de Pologne changed both riders' lives forever. 

The Jumbo-Visma sprinter veered towards Jakobsen on the fast downhill finish in Katowice, causing a pile-up that saw the Deceuninck-QuickStep rider fly through the barriers at the side of the road.

Jakobsen was placed in an induced coma after the life-threatening crash and has since undergone multiple surgeries to facial injuries, which included severe damage to his jaw and teeth. He returned to training during the winter and raced for the first time at this week’s Tour of Turkey. 

Groenewegen accepted a nine-month ban from the UCI for his part in the incident and will make his own return to racing next month at the Tour of Hungary. 

The two sprinters have still to meet and talk about the incident, with Deceuninck-QuickStep team manager Patrick Lefevere determined to press on with a legal battle for compensation. 

Groenewegen has recently become a father but is still struggling to overcome his own consequences of the crash. He revealed in January that he was given police protection amid a wave of hate mail and even death threats. One package delivered to his home contained a noose for him and his partner to hang their newborn child. 

Jakobsen preferred not to talk about Groenewegen during a press conference before the Tour of Turkey but Groenewegen still regrets what happened. 

"I still think it's terrible," Groenewegen told Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, speaking after the death of his grandfather and legendary Dutch bicycle builder Ko Zieleman.

"That's why it was really nice to see Fabio back in the peloton in Turkey. And to see him doing what he likes best.

"We all sympathized enormously and when you see him sitting on his bike with a smile, it makes me very happy."

Groenewegen revealed that Ko Zieleman had died via social media. He was a legendary frame builder and bike shop owner in Amsterdam and Groenewegen has helped his own father create a bike business.  

Groenewegen remembered how Zieleman helped him as a boy when he began cycling. He built him his first racing bike when he was seven years old.  

"He was very helpful to me. We have been through so much," Groenewegen said. 

"It is a pity that he is no longer here to see my return, but I am convinced that he is watching from above."

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