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Jakobsen cleared to be repatriated after Tour de Pologne crash

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)

Fabio Jakobsen has been cleared to leave hospital in Sosnowiec, Poland and be moved to one in his home country one week after being seriously injured in a violent crash on the opening stage of the Tour de Pologne.

Deceuninck-QuickStep issued a statement on his condition, saying: "Fabio Jakobsen’s condition is evolving favourably, to the extent that he will be transferred Wednesday to the hospital in Leiden, the Netherlands (the Leiden University Medical Center), where further follow-up treatment of his injuries will take place."

Jakobsen suffered numerous fractures to his palate and facial bones as well as damage to his trachea after crashing through the barriers in the final metres of the sprint finish. Doctors placed him in a medically-induced coma and performed five hours of reconstructive surgery last week.

Jakobsen has since been awake and communicating via text message, having been cleared of any serious injuries to his brain, spine or vital organs.

Jumbo-Visma's Dylan Groenewegen admitted blame for the crash and apologized after he deviated from his line to stop Jakobsen from passing along the barriers and caused him to crash.

The UCI Disciplinary Commission will review the incident to determine if Groenewegen should face punishment in addition to his disqualification and 500CHF fine.

The riders' association, the CPA, has called on the UCI to investigate whether the race had properly secured the barriers, which broke apart upon impact and flew into the course, taking out several other sprinters.

Groenewegen also crashed and suffered a fractured clavicle in the incident, while Marc Sarreau (Groupama-FDJ), Damien Touzé (Cofidis), and Eduard Prades (Movistar) were briefly hospitalized with injuries from the wreck. Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates) and Neilson Powless (EF Pro Cycling) were injured but able to continue in the race.

CPA President Gianni Bugno called on the UCI to create a standard for 'approved barriers' and to require the use of approved barriers for critical points in races. 

Retired sprinter Robbie McEwen said he raised a similar issue during his career almost a decade ago.

"I put forward a barrier design to both the UCI and the ASO at the same time, for exactly the circumstances like this. While things have improved at some races, a good barrier set-up has to be solid, it can’t come apart, and it’s got to be heavy. The board on the front of the barrier also has to come down at an angle and meet the road. Everything has to deflect the rider back onto the road," McEwen told Cyclingnews last week.

"The barriers in Poland flew every which way, and it looked to me like they were made of plastic. One of them broke into pieces and that doesn’t happen with the metal ones. There’s a lot to be done in regard to safety in the last few hundred meters."