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