Cycling

Dutch cyclist Fabio Jakobsen out of coma after horror crash

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Fabio Jakobsen of Deceuninck-Quick-Step.
Fabio Jakobsen of Deceuninck-Quick-Step.
Robertus Pudyanto/Getty Images

Dutch cyclist Fabio Jakobsen has awoken from a medically-induced coma following a horrific crash in the Tour of Poland and is now in "good" condition, race organisers said on Friday.

"We have good news from the hospital in Sosnowiec! @FabioJakobsen is awake now from the coma. Condition is 'good'," the Tour of Poland said on Twitter.

The hospital where the 23-year-old rising star is being treated in southern Poland was also due to give an update after he sustained injuries to the face.

Jakobsen was thrown into and over a barrier at 80 kilometres (50 miles) an hour on Wednesday as he raced elbow-to-elbow with fellow Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen in the opening stage of the Tour of Poland in Katowice.

Groenewegen veered suddenly to the right, squeezing his rival into the security wall. Jakobsen somersaulted over the barriers before colliding with a race official.

Groenewegen went on to win the stage but was later disqualified with Jakobsen declared the winner.

Jakobsen was left fighting for his life and underwent a five-hour operation immediately after the accident.

Pawel Gruenpeter, deputy head of the hospital, on Thursday said his condition had improved but was still "serious but stable" as he was taken out of the coma.

Groenewegen on Thursday also apologised saying: "I can't find the words to describe how sorry I am for Fabio and the others who fell or were affected.

"I am thinking about him all the time," he wrote.

The Katowice prosecutor's office has opened an investigation into the accident.

Police have also gathered records of the crash, along with the bikes of the injured riders.

'Very dirty move' 

The incident came a year to the day after the death of 22-year-old Belgian sprinter Bjorg Lambrecht, who died after falling and hitting a concrete structure on the 2019 Tour of Poland.

Patrick Lefevere, general manager of the Deceuninck-Quick Step team, has called the incident a "criminal act" and "a very dirty move from Groenewegen".

Governing body UCI also said it "strongly condemns the dangerous behaviour of Dylan Groenewegen" and has referred the incident to a disciplinary panel.

The drama came at the end of the first stage, raced over 198km from Chorzow to Katowice in southern Poland.

Jakobsen is a rising star of the sprint in the peloton who made his name in 2019 with two stage wins on the Vuelta a Espana, one of the sport's three Grand Tours.

Having turned professional in 2018 with Quick-Step, Jakobsen donned the Dutch champion's jersey in June last year. 

In last year's Tour of Poland he was third on the opening stage.

Groenewegen, 27, is a four-time stage winner on the Tour de France, including the final stage in 2017 on the Champs Elysees in Paris.

On Thursday, world champion Mads Pedersen won the second stage over 151.1km from Opole and Zabrze.

The 24-year-old Trek-Segafredo rider dedicated his victory to the stricken Jakobsen.

"I am super happy to be able to dedicate it to him, and to his quick recovery, to his return to life, to cycling," the Dane told TVP Sport.

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