Jumbo-Visma boss criticises Remco Evenepoel for his Dylan Groenewegen comments 

Belgian star Evenepoel suggested no-one in his team would talk to Groenewegen after the Tour of Poland incident 

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The boss of Jumbo-Visma has criticised Remco Evenepoel for his comments about Dylan Groenewegen, after an incident at last year’s Tour of Poland.

Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) has been banned from racing for nine months after he deviated from his sprinting line on stage one of the 2020 Tour of Poland, causing Deceuninck - Quick-Step’s Fabio Jakobsen to crash at high speed.

Jakobsen suffered serious facial injuries and has still not returned to competition, having undergone multiple operations since last August. 

In a recent interview with Belgian magazine Humo (opens in new tab), Jakobsen’s team-mate Evenepoel, 21, suggested Deceuninck - Quick-Step riders would shun Groenewegen for his role in the crash, adding: “We can’t forgive him for that.” 

Evenepoel said: "How they get along in future is for them to figure out. I don't think Fabio has to talk to Dylan, it's correct to ignore him.

“I don't think anyone from our team will speak to him. He hurt our team-mate and we can't forgive him for that." 

But Jumbo-Visma managing director Richard Plugge has criticised Evenepoel for his public comments, calling the rising Belgian start “part of the problem.” 

Speaking with Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws (opens in new tab), Plugge said: "Evenepoel is part of the problem with his response.

“It is better to think carefully before making a statement in the media. He should know that."

Earlier this year, Groenewegen revealed he had received death threats and needed police protection after the incident.

The crash involving Groenewegen and Jakobsen happened in the closing meters of the infamous downhill sprint into Katowice on stage one of the 2020 Tour of Poland. 

Groenewegen deviated from his line and forced Jakobsen into the barriers, which gave way and sent the rider into the air.

That finish in Katowice had earned a reputation for high speeds, with riders hitting in excess of 80km/h in a previous edition.

As part of a wave of new safety measures, the UCI has now banned that sprint finish from being used. 

Groenewegen was also banned from racing for nine months by the UCI for his role in the crash, as he is set to make return to racing at a number of smaller races this season, starting with the Tour of Hungary when his ban ends in May.

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Jakobsen is hoping to make his return to the peloton this year, having undergone his final planned surgery earlier this year, but no date has yet been set for his comeback. 

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Alex Ballinger
Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.