Matteo Trentin has called on everyone in professional cycling to accept blame for Fabio Jakobsen's crash at the Tour de Pologne, saying it has to spark a moment of change so that riders are better protected, especially in sprint finishes.
Jakobsen came out of a medically-induced coma on Friday and faces a long and difficult recovery from multiple fractures to his face and damage to his trachea.
Other riders also crashed hard on the descending finish in Katowice after Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) moved right, closing down a fast-approaching Jakobsen's path along the barriers. He gave an emotional interview with Dutch broadcaster NOS on Friday, saying he is sorry for what he did, but has been suspended by his team pending the outcome of a UCI investigation.
Trentin is riding Milan-San Remo with CCC Team but saw the footage of the Tour de Pologne crash and, like all his fellow riders, was deeply concerned for Jakobsen and the other riders involved. The Italian Classics rider is the vice-president of the Italian ACCPI riderss association and has worked hard and spoken out about rider safety and riders' rights.
He was not afraid to do it again after the Tour de Pologne crash but refrained from making specific accusations while Jakobsen remains in hospital.
"I'd like to give a detailed and articulated answer but to be honest I don’t really want to speak out too much before Fabio feels better. It's not yet the time to point fingers," he told Cyclingnews before Milan-San Remo.
"My feeling is that everybody is to blame for the crash: we all lost as riders, as race organisers, the CPA riders' association, the UCI, the teams and cycling in general lost too. Nobody can say it was not their fault or they don’t have some responsibility."
The crash was made far more violent because the road-side barriers, meant to keep spectators separated from the course, gave way as Jakobsen made impact. In addition to seriously injuring the Dutch champion, the barriers broke apart and flew into the road, knocking down Marc Sarreau (Groupama-FDJ), Eduard Prades (Movistar) and Damien Touzé (Cofidis), who all suffered injuries that will keep them out of competition.
Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) called on the sprinters to respect each other much more and limit the risks they take in sprints. Trentin hopes the incident can bring the riders together.
"We need to come together. Unfortunately it's not the first incident, it's just the latest incident," he said.
"First of all, the UCI really needs to be smarter and listen to people. People asked about the safety of the finish area ages ago but they're still the same. The riders are still racing on them too and the teams don't say one word until something happens.
"I hope we don’t have to reach the point as we did for the introduction of helmets, which sadly only happened when Andrey Kivilev died. We have to work together and for once in cycling find common ground for everyone involved."
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