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, 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, 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.
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.