Dutch cyclist Fabio Jakobsen has been placed in a induced coma after being seriously injured in an accident during the first stage of the Tour of Poland on Wednesday.
“His condition is very serious. There is a danger to his life, ”said race doctor Barbara Jerschina. “Unfortunately, it’s a pretty serious head and brain injury. He lost a lot of blood. He is very strong. I hope he will survive.
Jakobsen, sprinting for the line, was sent flying through the side barriers after a collision with compatriot Dylan Groenewegen. Jakobsen, who runs for the Deceuninck-Quick-Step team, was airlifted to hospital.
Jakobsen was named the winner of the first stage and Groenewegen was disqualified following the accident in which a referee and other riders were also injured.
The accident, which occurred in the southern city of Katowice, took place exactly one year after Belgian cyclist Bjorg Lambrecht died in hospital from injuries he sustained when he crashed against a concrete barrier during the third stage of the same round.
The sport’s governing body, the UCI, issued a statement strongly condemning what it called Groenewegen’s “dangerous behavior”, accusing him of causing the accident. “The UCI, which considers the behavior unacceptable, immediately referred the matter to the disciplinary commission to request the imposition of sanctions commensurate with the gravity of the facts.”
Czeslaw Lang, the race director, also criticized Groenewegen. “The competitor who caused this accident rode very badly, because while driving in the middle, seeing that someone was coming out on the right, he started to pull to the right,” he said.
The Tour of Poland was scheduled to take place in July but was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The first 196 km stage took the riders from Chorzow to Katowice.