Groenewegen to return from nine-month suspension at Giro D'Italia

Dutch sprinter Dylan Groenewegen has served his nine-month suspension after being judged to have caused the Tour of Poland crash that saw Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-QuickStep) put into intensive care in an induced coma and will return to racing at the Giro d'Italia.

The Jumbo-Visma rider will return to racing at the Giro d'Italia which begins on May 8, his nine-month suspension expiring just the day before the Giro starts. Groenewegen addressed a limited number of media on Tuesday about his return to the peloton, saying that he was a bit apprehensive about his reception.

“Some people will respond well to my return, some people may find it difficult that I am riding the Giro. I accept everyone’s emotions," said Groenewegen. "I have trained well in recent weeks, so my level is really good."

"The only question is how it will go mentally in a race. How will I react to a peloton? It is always nervous. And how will the peloton react to me?”

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The incident took place on August 5, 2020 on the opening stage of the Tour de Pologne, when Groenewegen deviated from his line in a downhill sprint finish at approximately 80 km/hr, which forced Jakobsen through the flimsy barriers.

Jakobsen suffered a brain contusion, hairline fractures in the skull, broken palate, losing ten teeth, losing parts of the upper and lower jawbone, cuts to the face, broken thumb, bruised shoulder, damage to the nerves of the vocal cords and a lung contusion. The Danish sprinter was placed in a medically-induced coma, and has gone through multiple surgeries. 

Groenewegen was expelled from the race, then suspended from racing by his Jumbo-Visma team. In November, the UCI Disciplinary Commission issued the nine-month suspension, to be served from the date of the incident.

While Groenewegen said he sent messages to Jakobsen during his recovery, it wasn't until a recent communication with Jakobsen’s father which then led to a personal meeting.

"The first contact was with his father,' said Groenewegen. "I had sent a message to Fabio's father out of interest and received a friendly reply. I thought that was very decent.

"We sat opposite each other in a small room in Amsterdam. We both got to unburden our hearts a bit. It was a nice conversation, but I prefer to keep the content to myself."



While not wanting to detract from Jakobsen's experience, the 27-year-old sprinter revealed his own struggles earlier this year, a surge of hate mail and even death threats led to Groenewegen getting police protection.

"I accept everyone's emotions. It can't get any worse than the past few months,” said Groenewegen. "I have spoken a lot with a psychologist. I am prepared for negative reactions."


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3 min read
Published 28 April 2021 at 9:19am
By SBS Cycling Central
Source: SBS