Dylan Groenewegen has been suspended from racing for nine months for his involvement in Fabio Jakobsen’s crash at the Tour of Poland.
Dutch sprinter Groenewegen, 27, hasn’t raced since the opening stage of Poland in August, when he deviated from his line in the sprint finish and caused a serious crash.
The collision happened when Groenewegen forced Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s Fabio Jakobsen into the barriers at high speed, leaving him with severe concussion and facial injuries.
Jumbo-Visma rider Groenewegen, who suffered a broken a collarbone in the fall, was disqualified from the race, while the UCI announced it would investigate the incident and consider disciplinary action against Groenewegen.
On Wednesday morning (November 11) the UCI announced its decision, with Groenewegen receiving a nine-month suspension from the governing body’s disciplinary panel.
Jumbo-Visma director Richard Plugge said: “It was a crash where the severity of the consequences was unfathomable. Now that the disciplinary case has been concluded, we can start looking forward again. We will do that together with Dylan. We are relieved that there is now perspective and clarity. We wish Fabio Jakobsen the same. The encouraging reports about his recovery do us good.”
The UCI’s disciplinary commission has ruled that Groenewegen deviated from his sprinting line in the final, committing a violation of the UCI regulations.
Groenewegen’s suspension will be back-dated to August 5, the day of the crash, so he will not be eligible to race again until May 7, 2021.
The UCI said Groenewegen will also take part in “a number of events to benefit the cycling community.”
Groenewegen said: “The crash in the first stage of the Tour of Poland will forever be a black page in my career. During the sprint I deviated from my line. I am sorry, because I want to be a fair sprinter. The consequences were very unfortunate and serious. I am very aware of that and I hope this has been a wise lesson for every sprinter. I follow the news of Fabio’s recovery very closely. I can only hope that one day he will return completely. Closing the disciplinary matter creates clarity. That gives me the opportunity to look ahead again. I am happy about that, even though May 7 is still far away. I am happy with the support I get from Jumbo-Visma, my family and friends. Together we will work towards that day both mentally and physically.”
The crash also sparked concerns about rider safety, as the stage one downhill sprint was a notoriously treacherous finish among pro riders, while the barriers at the side of the road also gave way in the crash, causing Jakobsen to be catapulted into the air when he hit them.
But the UCI has not made any ruling regarding the race organisers.
A statement from the governing body said: “The UCI emphasises the importance of acting on any such incidents from a disciplinary point of view in a fair and consistent manner as well as continuously working on measures aimed at improving road safety.”
Dutchman Jakobsen, 24, who was placed into an induced coma after the fall, has since undergone surgery to have part of his pelvis removed and placed in his jaw and is recovering well.
He hopes to be back to training within weeks.