Dutch rider Fabio Jakobsen is in critical but stable condition and in an induced coma after a dramatic crash on the first stage of Tour de Pologne in Katowice, Poland.
Wednesday’s race was preceded by a minute’s silence to commemorate Belgian cyclist Bjorg Lambrecht, who died in an accident in the previous edition, and the finish line was situated in Katowice, which is famed for its high-speed finishes, where riders can reach 80kph.
But horror struck as the top sprinters went for the win, and Jakobsen crashed into barriers after he clashed elbow-to-elbow with Belgian Dylan Groenewegen. The barriers flew across the road which contributed to the crash of several other cyclists.
Groenewegen crossed the finish line first but he was disqualified for causing the collision. Jakobsen was later awarded the stage win. The Dutch Deceuninck-Quickstep rider was transported to hospital in a critical condition after over half-an-hour of resuscitation. According to Polish media, the rider was put into an induced coma.
Jakobsen underwent a five-hour operation to the head during the night and is still in a medically-induced coma in intensive care.
"Today we will try and wake him from the coma," Pawel Gruenpeter, deputy head of the Sosnowiec hospital where Jakobsen is being treated, told Polish media.
"A scan has been carried out and the brain does not appear to have been affected The main injuries are to the face. Fortunately the eyes have not been affected. The condition is serious but stable," Gruenpeter said.
After the crash Groenewegen’s team Jumbo-Visma made an official statement.
“Our thoughts go out to Fabio Jakobsen and other people involved in today’s terrible crash. We offer our sincere apologies and we will discuss internally what has happened before we may make any further statement,” they wrote, while Deceuninck-Quickstep’s manager Patrick Lefevere announced that the team will take legal action against Groenewegen.