Fabio Jakobsen and Dylan Groenewegen: Two sprinters, a terrible fall and its consequences – Sport

One of the worst falls in cycling history: Fabio Jakobsen (left) and Dylan Groenewegen at the Tour of Poland 2020. Photo dpa / Tomasz Markowski

Dutch professionals are forever linked by one of the worst accidents in the history of cycling. They have both won a stage in the Tour de France – and they are ignoring each other as best they can.

The sport is also so fascinating because it has more to offer than just winning and losing. Great dramas, for example, but of course also stories that cannot be invented even with a lot of imagination. And sometimes even both of them together. As in the case of Fabio Jakobsen and Dylan Groenewegen.

Both Dutch are professional cyclists, they belong to the world’s elite sprinters. Although the Tour de France only lasts three days, they’ve all won a stage. They didn’t talk about it. Jakobsen and Groenewegen ignore each other as much as possible, and to define their relationship as cool would be an understatement. This is due to an event that will bind them together forever.

Bodies, wheels and debris swirl in the air

The day when fate once again swept through high-speed cycling was almost two years ago. The first stage of the Tour of Poland will end on August 5, 2020 in Katowice. After a break of more than four months in Corona, the drivers are too ambitious, but without racing training. The finale is hectic, the home stretch is downhill. The sprinters then accelerate to 80 km / h: Groenewegen pushes Jakobsen towards the gang, the Dutchman hits the barrier. Bodies, wheels and debris swirl through the air in what is arguably one of the worst falls in cycling history – leaving a pro fighting for his life.

Fabio Jakobsen sustained severe facial injuries with numerous broken bones, only one tooth remained in his mouth. He is in an artificial coma for two days, only then is it considered that the greatest danger has been averted. Many operations take place. Doctors create a new jaw from a part of the pelvis, the shattered face is sewn with 130 stitches. “There were dark times when I was afraid I wouldn’t do it,” Jakobsen later says, “I was given a second life.” As a person. And as an athlete.

Back to the top of the world

The Dutchman worked hard in the gym and inline skating until he achieved what hardly anyone thought was possible: first returning to the bike, then to the top of the world. It feels as strong as it was before the fall, which is also a tremendous psychological achievement. Jakobsen (25) shows no fear in mass sprints, does not back down, uses his elbows, fights for every position. Like Saturday in Nyborg. “It was a long way, but I did it step by step,” he said after his first stage win on the tour, “I’m happy.” Even if not all of his competitors congratulated him.

A bad accident in Katowice also changed the life of Dylan Groenewegen (29). He was considered the culprit. As a villain. As the perpetrator. Quickstep team boss Fabio Jakobsen, Patrick Lefevere, said Groenewegen belonged to prison and was insulted on social media. Groenewegen himself reported receiving death threats online. The UCI world cycling association banned him for nine months.

There are no more friends

By sincerely apologizing to Jakobsen, Groenewegen could certainly fine-tune his image, but the perception of the meeting nine months after the Tour of Poland was completely different. “Dylan did not apologize personally and showed no willingness to take responsibility for his actions. It always takes two to come to an agreement, “Jakobsen explained after the meeting,” my lawyers will now deal with how to proceed. ” On the other hand, with Groenewegen, everything was a bit different. He meant very well to say I’m sorry. Shortly after the fall, he said something similar: “I’m sorry because I want to be an honest athlete.”

What really happened? Only these two know. The only thing that is clear is that the Dutch will no longer be friends. Their duels on the route are all the more explosive. Ironically, Groenewegen was also very successful there – the day after Jakobsen: he won the third stage in Sönderborg. “I don’t know if it was the best win in my career,” he replied, “but it means a lot to me. It was a hard time mentally considering what happened. ” It’s not over yet.

Finally, Jakobsen spoke clearly about the man whose impact he struggled with death. “Before the crash, I admired his achievements and admired him a little,” he said of Groenewegen and his memorable day, “but that completely disappeared after the mistake he made.”

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