Dylan Groenewegen banned for nine months for causing crash at Tour of Poland which left Fabio Jakobsen in a coma

Dutch sprinter Dylan Groenewegen has been banned for nine months by cycling’s world governing body the UCI for causing the crash at the Tour of Poland in August which left Fabio Jakobsen in a coma.

Dutch cyclist Fabio Jakobsen's bicycle flies through the air as he collides with compatriot Dylan Groenewegen during the opening stage of the Tour of Poland in Katowice in August.
Dutch cyclist Fabio Jakobsen's bicycle flies through the air as he collides with compatriot Dylan Groenewegen during the opening stage of the Tour of Poland in Katowice in August.

Groenewegen deviated from his line in the final metres of the opening stage of the race, sending his fellow Dutchman into the barriers, which subsequently collapsed in frightening fashion.

Deceuninck-QuickStep’s Jakobsen, 24, suffered a heavy concussion and numerous broken bones in the crash, and was placed in a medically-induced coma before undergoing facial reconstruction surgery.

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Neither rider has raced since the incident on August 5, with Jakobsen’s treatment ongoing while Groenewegen – who suffered a broken collarbone – was suspended by his Jumbo-Visma team until the outcome of the UCI’s investigation.

In a statement announcing his ban on Wednesday, the UCI said: “(Groenewegen) collaborated with the investigation and accepted to serve a period of suspension until 7 May 2021, corresponding to a period of nine months from the date of the incident.”

But the heavy ban for the 27-year-old will prove controversial as, though he immediately accepted blame for causing the crash, the incident raised serious questions about safety practices around sprint stages given the downhill finish and the apparently poor construction of the barriers.

The UCI did not immediately respond to questions regarding any broader consequences of the crash in terms of race guidelines.

The world governing body’s statement added: “The UCI emphasises the importance of acting on any such incidents from a disciplinary point of view in a fair and consistent manner as well as continuously working on measures aimed at improving road safety.”

Groenewegen subsequently posted a message on social media accepting the ban, calling the incident a “black page in my career”.

“During the sprint I deviated from my line,” he wrote. “I am sorry, because I want to be a fair sprinter. The consequences were very unfortunate and serious. I am very aware of that and I hope this has been a wise lesson for every sprinter.

“I follow the news of Fabio’s recovery very closely. I can only hope that one day he will return completely.”

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