Dylan Groenewegen has revealed he received death threats and needed police protection over his involvement in a crash at the Tour of Poland.
The Jumbo-Visma rider is currently serving a nine-month ban over his involvement in a crash on the opening stage of the WorldTour stage race last August.
Groenewegen, 27, deviated from his sprinting line in the final straight and forced rival sprinter Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) into the barrier at high speed.
Dutchman Groenewegen has now spoken about the aftermath of the crash, saying he received “serious threats” in the post and that police officers were posted outside his house for protection.
In an interview with Helden Magazine, Groenewegen said: “There were such concrete and serious threats that we called in the police a few days after the crash.
“The following days and weeks the police guarded our door. We could no longer spontaneously leave the house. If I wanted to go outside for a moment, there was an officer by my side so that nothing could happen.”
Groenewegen said he received threatening handwritten letters in the post and was also sent a noose.
He added: “What happened here? How is this possible? What sick world do we live in? The most crazy things go through your head. Getting out of bed in the morning was quite a challenge in that period.”
The crash left Dutchman Jakobsen with severe concussion and facial injuries, which have required multiple operations.
Jakobsen is not yet back to full health, but he has been back on the bike and trained with his team-mates at a winter camp in Spain.
He is expected to race again but has not set a date for his return.
Groenewegen, who suffered a broken collarbone in the fall, was disqualified from the race, while the UCI announced it would investigate the incident and consider disciplinary action against Groenewegen.
The UCI disciplinary commission later ruled that Groenewegen deviated from his sprinting line in the final, committing a violation of the UCI regulations, handing the rider a nine-month ban.
Groenewegen’s suspension is back-dated to August 5, the day of the crash, so he will not be eligible to race again until May 7, 2021.
He is expected to return to racing at the Tour of Hungary and will ride a number of smaller stage races throughout 2021, including the ZLM Tour, the Tour of Wallonia and the Tour of Guangxi.