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Jakobsen’s team to proceed with legal action against Groenewegen over Tour de Pologne crash

Dutch sprinter slowly healing and optimistic about racing after suffering horrific facial injuries

Deceuninck-Quick Step boss Patrick Lefevere has confirmed that his team will pursue legal action against Jumbo-Visma sprinter Dylan Groenewegen over the Tour de Pologne crash that resulted in sprinter Fabio Jakobsen being placed in an induced coma.

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

The Dutch rider needed 130 stitches in horrendous facial injuries and was left with just one tooth. He has been undergoing a lengthy course of reconstructive surgery.

Groenewegen has not raced after being suspended for the crash following strong condemnation of his actions from the UCI. Earlier this week, he was banned for nine months.

Speaking to, Lefevere said that not only would the team be taking legal action in Poland, but Jakobsen may also file a second suit in the Netherlands.

Commenting on his rider’s wellbeing, Lefevere said: "I was especially shocked by his optimism. He's competitive, wants to return and he's not afraid.

"His jaw now has to heal for three months before implanting can be done and then it'll take another three months for new teeth to be placed. Then we'll be at the start of May. Maybe he can race without teeth before then.

"I'm not a specialist but his breathing and vocal cords seem to be heading in the right direction. Fabio has a lot of scars on his face – he won't be Elvis Presley any more, but knowing where he has come from it's an afterthought."

The crash was one of a number this season where riders were seriously injured and last month the pro riders’ association, the CPA, met with the UCI to discuss a series of safety proposals.

Focusing on a number of areas, the group’s plan offered a withering assessment of race judges which it said were often, “not competent enough to be responsible for a World Tour race.”

Lefevere said he was in favour of having independent experts judge riders’ actions during sprints – ideally former pros.

"I want independent experts to judge them,” he said. “I propose that we make the dirtiest sprinter in history head of the body – the best rangers have often been poachers first.

“The experts have to come from the peloton because anyone who has never ridden a bicycle cannot judge what is dangerous and what is not.

"There are many nuances. A push with the shoulder is not always dangerous; an elbow to the arm is more dangerous than an elbow to the buttock. Rule number one must be that a rider keeps his hands on the handlebars at all times."

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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bobbinogs | 3 years ago
1 like

...and yet one of the most dangerous bits of riding this year was over about 1km with multiple erratic moves and seen in the LBL by none other than the current world champion who rides for, err, Mr Lefevere! Care to spraff on that one Patrick?

MattieKempy | 3 years ago

Patrick Lefevre just doesn't know where to get off! It's sport! Groenewegen was clearly at fault but he seems to have been hung out to dry by the UCI, presumably to avoid them having to accept any liability for the poor course design which they ought to have done something about.

Cycling's a sport, isn't it? Things happen in sport. The day someone is prosecuted for making a poor decision in the heat of the moment of an intense sporting competition it will set a very dangerous precedent.

Gkam84 replied to MattieKempy | 3 years ago

Accidents do happen and everyone accepts that, I'm sure even Lefevre has been around long enough to accept that as fact. Groenewegen put out an elbow purposefully, which lead to Jakobsens crash, that wasn't an accident, it was a known action. Yes, other factors came into play, but without the elbow, the rest doesn't happen, so Groenewegen hasn't been "hung out to dry". It was his action that caused all this, so he should and has been appropriately punished by the governing body.

MattieKempy replied to Gkam84 | 3 years ago
1 like

It's the same principle as a rugby player making a high tackle and breaking the opponent's jaw: s/he makes an instinctive decision in a micro-second, gets it wrong, gets it wrong and causes damage. S/he knows the tackle is wrong but had no intent to cause injury. S/he gets a 3-month ban and that's the end of it.

Groenewegen did the same. He made an instictive decision in a micro-second to protect his lead. He knew when he'd done it that it was the wrong call but he had no intention to cause injury, certainly to the extent he did. Why then the 9-month ban? He was visibly upset when interviewed after the event, he admitted responsibility. 

The UCI have over-reacted and Patrick 'Gobshite' Lefevre has too, just for a change. To take it to court sets a dangerous predecent. Is Lefevre taking the organisers of Il Lombardia to court for poor safety planning on the bridge Evenpoel crashed over? There's a case for loss of earnings there too, surely!

Nick T replied to MattieKempy | 3 years ago

If that rugby player broke the opponents neck and left him with life changing injuries, 3 month ban still? You don't "accidentally" tackle high very often, unless you're a thug by nature

Gkam84 | 3 years ago
1 like

I think the fact that Groenewegen has got such a lengthy ban shows that he was at fault, no matter what you think of course layout, "safety" barriers...etc. Without Groenewegens actions. Jakobsen doesn't end up in that position. 

So the UCI have basically branded him guilty. I think Lefevere and the legal team at Deceuninck are fully justified in bringing legal action. I guess they will be going after financial loses for Jakobsen, plus his future earning potential. That could be a very large settlement to be had. He's not long turned 24 and who knows if/when he comes back, at what level he can compete.

As a consequence of legal action, it could also have an impact on the UCI to make racing safer aswell.

NZ Vegan Rider replied to Gkam84 | 3 years ago

I agree.

No matter what the course set up his actions alone led to the horrendous crash.

"To take it to court sets a dangerous predecent. " - no just a precedent (note spelling) for other riders and teams to look to before / instead of knocking opposition riders off their bikes ;-(


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