Jakobsen says Groenewegen lawsuit 'will benefit cycling'

Jumbo-Visma’s Dylan Groenewegen (in yellow) was handed a nine-month ban by the UCI for having caused the crash at the 2020 Tour de Pologne that left Dutch road race champion Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-QuickStep) fighting for his life
Jakobsen was seriously injured and Groenewegen banned after the crash in Poland (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Fabio Jakobsen has said that he is not involved in ongoing legal action against Dylan Groenewegen, but he believes the outcome of the case will "benefit the sport of cycling" and provide clarity on his horrific crash at the 2020 Tour de Pologne.

Jakobsen crashed heavily in the finishing straight in Katowice on last year’s Tour de Pologne after his fellow countryman Groenewegen deviated from his line in the sprint. The untethered roadside barriers exacerbated the consequences of the crash, and Jakobsen was placed in an induced coma as doctors fought to save his life.

He spent a week in intensive care in Poland and three more in an ICU in the Netherlands. Jakobsen made a gradual recovery and returned to racing in April of this year. He capped a remarkable comeback by winning a hat-trick of stages and the points classification at the Vuelta a España.

Groenewegen was suspended for nine months for his part in the crash, and he met with Jakobsen privately prior to his return to competition at the Giro d’Italia, though the pair later disagreed over what precisely was said during their encounter. Groenewegen has recently announced he will move from Jumbo-Visma to BikeExchange-Jayco in 2022 and is likely again sprint against Jakobsen in the months ahead. 

Jakobsen and his Deceuninck-QuickStep manager Patrick Lefevere expressed disappointment that Groenewegen had failed to apologise during the meeting, with Jakobsen noting that the matter was in the hands of lawyers.

"I don't think about it much, if at all," Jakobsen said of the legal action in an interview published in De Telegraaf on Thursday.

"It's in the hands of the right people. I still stand by the path we have taken and I think this has to happen. This will benefit the sport of cycling and everyone's conscience, and then there will also be clarity. The outcome will hopefully not change my future. Most of all, I'm very happy to be back on the bike and to still be good at it."

Jakobsen resumed competition at the Tour of Turkey in April and slowly rebuilt his form before claiming a pair of stage wins at the Tour de Wallonie in July. After narrowly losing out to Jasper Philipsen in the first bunch sprint of the Vuelta in Burgos, Jakobsen hit his stride and won stages in Molina de Aragon, La Manga and Santa Cruz de Bezana. He would carry the green jersey to the finish in Santiago de Compostela, and he completed his season with further victories at Gooikse Pijl and the Eurométropole Tour.

Jakobsen will hope to make his Tour de France debut in 2022, although he acknowledged that he would have to compete with Mark Cavendish for the role of QuickStep-Alphavinyl’s lead sprinter in July and the 2022 season.

Cavendish was drafted in to replace the injured Sam Bennett at this year’s Tour de France and he exceeded expectations by winning four times to equal Eddy Merckx’s all-time record of 34 stage wins. He also won the green jersey for a second time, a decade on from his previous victory in the classification.

"I would like to ride it, but I am looking forward to the spring first," Jakobsen said of the Tour and his 2022 campaign.

"I have missed that [the spring campaign] for the last two years, and that’s where I will have to earn my place in the Giro or Tour team.

"I like that not everything is certain, that keeps me sharp. And we have Mark Cavendish. He showed in the last Tour that he is back. We are both sprinters, but we also give each other a lot."

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