Dutch cyclist Fabio Jakobsen rides prior to crash during the opening stage of the Tour of Poland in Katowice , southern Poland, August 5, 2020. /VCG
Dutch cyclist Fabio Jakobsen admitted on Tuesday he was "very grateful" to be alive in his first public comment after his dreadful accident on the Tour of Poland earlier this month. The Deceuninck-Quick Step rider was put in a medically induced coma after a collision with compatriot Dylan Groenewegen as they sprinted to the finish on the first stage of the race on August 5. He underwent a five-hour operation, regaining consciousness two days later.
A tragic collision on the final stretch of the opening stage of the Tour de Poland in Katowice, Poland, August 5, 2020. /VCG
In an emotional statement on his team's website, he acknowledged the enormous debt he owed to all the medical personnel involved in his treatment. "The trauma doctors and nurses at the finish line in Katowice saved my life, for which I am extremely grateful to them," he said. "It was a difficult, dark period for me in the ICU, where I was afraid of not surviving." Jakobsen's condition improved sufficiently for him to be moved back home to the Netherlands last week, but "multiple surgeries and treatments to fix facial injuries" lie ahead. "Currently I am at home," he added, "where the wounds in my face and my injuries can continue to recover". "In addition, I have to rest a lot in the coming months because of a severe concussion." Jakobsen was thrown into and over a barrier at 80kmh as he raced elbow-to-elbow with fellow Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen on the opening stage in Katowice. Groenewegen, from the Jumbo-Visma team, veered suddenly to the right, squeezing Jakobsen into the security wall. Jakobsen somersaulted over the barriers before colliding with a race official. Groenewegen went on to win the stage but was later disqualified. He has been suspended by his team pending an investigation from the UCI, cycling's governing body.
Remco Evenepoel of Belgium and Team Deceuninck during Stage 4 of the 77th Tour of Poland 2020, August 8, 2020. /VCG
Jakobsen's Belgian teammate Remco Evenepoel won the Polish race, only to suffer a horror fall himself in Saturday's Tour of Lombardy one-day classic. He was flown home from Italy on Monday to continue his recovery from a fractured pelvis suffered in his spectacular season-ending spill when he plunged off a bridge and into a ravine.
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