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Fabio Jakobsen out of coma as team mulls legal action against Dylan Groenewegen

Former UCI president among those to take issue with downhill sprint finishes

Dutch cyclist Fabio Jakobsen has been woken from a medically-induced coma following his horrific crash at the climax of Wednesday’s stage of the Tour de Pologne. Jakobsen’s Deceuninck-QuickStep team boss, Patrick Lefevere, has said that rival sprinter Dylan Groenewegen should be jailed for the manoeuvre that caused the incident.

The crash happened metres from the line in Katowice in a fast, downhill sprint. Jumbo-Visma rider Groenewegen appeared to move across Jakobsen’s line, flicking an elbow at him to send him into the barriers, which immediately broke apart.

Deceuninck-Quick Step said that diagnostic tests didn’t reveal brain or spinal injuries. However, Jakobsen underwent facial surgery and because of the severity of his injuries was being kept in an induced coma.

A statement from St Barbara Hospital in Sosnowiec earlier today said: "The patient is conscious, complies with the instructions and he is disconnected from the ventilator. We are pleased with his health today. The cyclist may leave the hospital in two weeks."

The UCI has said it “strongly condemns” the “dangerous behaviour” of Groenewegen and has referred the matter to its Disciplinary Commission.

In the immediate aftermath, Lefevere tweeted that Groenewegen should be “in jail.”

He later told Belga News Agency: “I am still very angry and stay behind those Twitter messages. It was a very dirty action by Groenewegen. You don't do that. We have already lodged a complaint with the UCI and will also do so to the police in Poland. We will not just let this pass."

Commenting on the incident, Groenewegen – who himself suffered a broken collarbone – expressed sorrow for what happened to Jakobsen, but appeared to stop short of taking responsibility, perhaps for legal reasons.

“I can't find the words to describe how sorry I am for Fabio and others who have been knocked over or hit,” he tweeted. “At the moment, the health of Fabio is the most important thing. I think about him constantly.”

The incident occurred a year to the day after Lotto-Soudal’s Bjorg Lambrecht died after a crash at the same race.

It also came on the same finish where Pascal Ackermann had hit 83kph during another sketchy sprint finish in 2018.

Seemingly alluding to this, Alessandro De Marchi of Team CCC has called for an “evolution in safety measures” in light of the “absurd” speed of modern riders. The Italian also called for zero tolerance of dangerous manoeuvres during races.

Former president of the UCI, Brian Cookson, told Sky Sports that cycling would have to take a ‘long hard look’ at itself following the incident.

"From the UCI, to the riders, to the race organisers. I'm as terrified as anyone else watching that crash, it was really horrendous,” he said.

"It was clearly a very dangerous manoeuvre by Groenewegen and then obviously something has gone amiss with the barriers.

"We need to find out what went wrong with the barriers and also not have those downhill finishes any more – and the riders have to take care of each other a bit more.

"Circumstances change and technology has made bikes a lot faster. With carbon wheels, they're travelling 5-10km faster now.

"I don't think you'd find many people saying downhill finishes are a good idea."

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Nick T | 3 years ago

Did they not introduce these downhill sprint finishes in 2017 during Cookson's presidency?

alexuk | 3 years ago

It would be stupid and childish to sue him. It was a racing accident, its happened lots before, it'll happen again, focus on getting safer barriers. one ever sued Sagan when he did the same to Cav.

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