Fabio Jakobsen has overcome his demons to take his first win since his life-threatening crash one year ago.
The Dutch sprinter lined up in the Tour de Wallonie this week as the chosen sprinter for his Deceuninck - Quick-Step squad, as he continued his comeback after the fateful collision with Dylan Groenewegen last August.
Jakobsen suffered serious injuries to his head and face during the opening stage of last year’s Tour of Poland, after he was pushed into the barriers by rival sprinter Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) in the infamous downhill finish into Katowice.
Groenewegen was banned from racing for nine months by the UCI for his role in the collision, while Jakobsen underwent multiple operations, including facial reconstructive surgery.
Jakobsen, 24, returned to racing at the Tour of Turkey in April, but hadn’t broken into the top-30 on a stage before the Tour de Wallonie.
But on the second stage of Wallonie on Wednesday (July 21), Jakobsen completed his comeback in emphatic fashion, beating Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) in a bunch sprint in Zolder.
Jakobsen’s win came just a day after his rival Groenewegen also took his first win since the crash on stage one of Wallonie, in another bunch sprint.
Jakobsen’s crash happened in the sprint finish of stage one of the Tour of Poland last August when Jumbo-Visma’s Dylan Groenewegen pushed him into a barrier at high speed and the barriers gave way.
Jakobsen suffered facial injuries and a serious concussion in the fall, while Groenewegen broke his collarbone.
Groenewegen later revealed he had received death threats following the collision.
After being disqualified from the race, Groenewegen was banned from racing for nine months by the UCI, making his return at the Giro d’Italia, which he abandoned without taking a podium place.
The Tour of Poland finish into Katowice has since been banned by the UCI under safety grounds.
Speaking after his first win since the crash, Groenewegen said: “This win is more than just a win for me.
“I went through a very difficult period in which cycling came second. A lot has happened. Of course with the accident, but also in my private life. We have continued to work hard and it is very nice to finally win again. The team has been fully supporting me all the time and I am very grateful to them for that. That has helped me a lot."
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