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Doctors optimistic Jakobsen will ride again after horror crash

CPA calls for greater unity and increased team role in ensuring rider safety.

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Doctors are optimistic about Fabio Jakobsen‘s recovery.

After suffering fractures to his face and losing a substantial volume of blood in the horrific crash that blighted last week’s Tour of Poland, medics are feeling positive for Jakobsen and hoping that the 23-year-old will return to riding at some point.

“Given the seriousness of the accident, Fabio Jakobsen is doing very well”, Deceuninck-Quick-Step doctor Yvan Vanmol told Sporza on Sunday.

“Fabio is fully conscious. He can’t talk yet, but communicating via text messages is fine … what we are still concerned about is the aesthetic damage and possibly the muscle group around his mouth. Since no vital organs have been affected, we hope for the best.”

Jakobsen is still in hospital in Katowice having been awoken from a coma Thursday, however, experts are hopeful that he will soon return to the Netherlands. Medics also believe that one day, the Dutch national champion will return to the bike.

“I do not dare to put a term on it, but we assume that Fabio will be a rider again,” Vanmol said. “We are certainly communicating positive messages to him. That way Fabio also gets hope for recovery.”

Meanwhile, riders’ group the CPA (Cycliste Professionnel Associés) has called for greater collective responsibility in ensuring rider safety. Wednesday’s sprint into Katowice played out on a super-high-speed downhill finishing straight, and the barriers used to fence in the charging peloton proved contributory to the carnage, rebounding Jakobsen into the air and back into the path of the oncoming bunch.

“We can no longer entrust the safety of the athletes to the good luck or hope that the organizer will act correctly. Strict rules and even stricter controls are needed,” CPA president Gianni Bugno wrote in an open letter to the UCI this weekend.

“We all lost on August 5th, and everyone bears a share of the responsibility in that accident. Either we are all finally working together, with a single vision, or nothing will ever change.”

The CPA’s statement urges teams to take a greater role in calling out dangerous race routes and inappropriate finish-straight barriers, as while riders can highlight such flaws, their power is relatively limited.

The rider’s association has also asked the UCI to “open an investigation to prosecute those who did not guarantee the safety of the athletes in the race,” and is awaiting a response from the governing body.

“To make mistakes is human, but sometimes it can have serious consequences,” Bugno wrote. “The riders must be educated and we are the first to ask for exemplary punishments for those who make mistakes, but we expect the same professionalism from those who organize an event and from those who guide our movement. For this reason, I am waiting for an answer and a concrete commitment from the UCI to ensure the maximum safety for the riders during the competitions.”