Dutch cyclist Fabio Jakobsen has been put in a medically induced coma after crashing at the finish line on stage one of the Tour of Poland following a collision with compatriot Dylan Groenewegen, the country’s state-controlled news agency PAP reported on Wednesday.
- The 77th Tour of Poland started this week after being rescheduled from July because of the Coronavirus pandemic
- The opening stage of the race was marred by a horrific crash on the finish line involving Dutch cyclist Fabio Jakobsen
- The incident came a year to the day of the death of Belgian cyclist Bjorg Lambrecht in a collision during last year’s race
Jakobsen, who rides for the Deceuninck-Quick Step team, was jostling for position with Groenewegen in the final metres, but the pair came together with Groenewegen sending Jakobsen flying into the barriers, where he collided with a race official.
The sport’s governing body, the UCI, issued a statement strongly condemning what it called the “dangerous behaviour” of Groenewegen, accusing him of causing the crash and disqualifying him from the race.
“The UCI, which considers the behaviour unacceptable, immediately referred the matter to the Disciplinary Commission to request the imposition of sanctions commensurate with the seriousness of the facts,” the UCI said.
Czeslaw Lang, the race director, also criticised Groenewegen for the incident.
“The competitor who caused this accident drove very incorrectly, because while riding in the middle, seeing that someone was coming out on the right, he started to pull down to the right,” Lang told state-controlled TVP.
The race official’s condition is not life threatening, PAP also reported.
Jakobsen’s team, Deceuninck-Quick Step, put out a statement later describing his condition as serious but stable.
“Diagnostic test (sic) didn’t reveal brain or spinal injury, but because of the gravity of his multiple injuries he is still kept in a comatose condition and has to remain closely monitored in the following days at the Wojewódzki Szpital in Katowice,” the team said.
The organisers were not immediately available for a comment.
The 77th Tour of Poland was meant to be held in July but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The race began on Wednesday, with the 196km first stage taking the riders from the Slaski Stadium in Chorzow, southern Poland, to Katowice.
The race was reduced to five stages from the seven originally planned in order to leave room on the calendar for other re-scheduled races.
The crash, which happened in the southern city of Katowice, took place exactly a year after Belgian cyclist Bjorg Lambrecht died in the hospital from injuries he sustained when he crashed into a concrete barrier during the third stage of the 76th edition of the Tour of Poland.