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by Dane Cash
August 6, 2020
The opening day of the first WorldTour stage race of the resumed season ended in a massive crash on Wednesday.
Stage 1 of the Tour of Poland came down to a downhill bunch kick in Katowice, and in the closing meters of the extremely fast sprint, Dylan Groenwegen (Jumbo-Visma) drove Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) into the barriers, sparking a huge crash that left Jakobsen and others seriously injured.
With Groenewegen leading the sprint, Jakobsen was trying to come up on his Dutch compatriot’s right side, but Groenewegen moved in the same direction and then made contact with his upper body. Jakobsen careened into the barriers at high speed, and then metal and advertising boards rebounded onto the course, bringing down Marc Sarreau (Groupama-FDJ), Jasper Philipsen (UAE-Team Emirates), Neilson Powless (EF), and other riders and at least one member of race personnel.
Groenewegen was the first rider over the line before he too was brought down in the chaos of the crash. He has since been disqualified.
Due to its graphic nature and the uncertainty around the health of riders and others, we’ve decided not to embed the crash video in this story. It can be seen here on social media.
Multiple people were hurt in the incident, with a helicopter arriving to the scene to provide emergency medical services. Jakobsen was among those taken to the hospital following the crash.
About an hour after the crash, race doctor Barbara Jerschina provided an update on Jakobsen’s condition to media at the event, saying that Jakobsen had suffered serious head injuries that she described as “life threatening.”
Jerschina said that Jakobsen had been intubated, which was difficult due to the nature of the injuries, and that although his heart was working well, he had lost a significant amount of blood.
Doctors at the hospital have since told Polish media that Jakobsen remains in serious condition but has stabilized. Later in the evening, Deceuninck-Quick-Step provided another update, saying that Jakobsen’s “situation is serious but at the moment he is stable. Diagnostic test 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.”
Groupama-FDJ has announced that Sarreau suffered multiple torn ligaments in the crash. Philipsen posted to social media to confirm that he did not suffer any serious injuries.
The UCI has released a statement on the incident and specifically on the disqualification of Groenewegen.
“The UCI, which considers the behavior unacceptable, immediately referred the matter to the Disciplinary Commission to request the imposition of sanctions commensurate with the seriousness of the facts,” read the statement.
“Our Federation is wholeheartedly with the affected riders.”
This story is developing. Check back for updates.