Road

Tour of Poland stage 1: Major crash mars opening sprint

A scary pileup at the opening stage of the Tour of Poland saw Fabio Jakobsen crash into the barriers just before the line.

A hellish crash at the finish of the Tour of Poland sent Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick Step) speeding into the barriers just before the finish line.

The high-speed impact caused a domino-like chain reaction that saw multiple riders hit the asphalt as they crossed the line.

The impact came after Jakobsen and Dylan Groenewegen sped into the final meters elbow-to-elbow just after a slight downhill. Jakobsen attempted to ride up on the barriers to Groenewegen’s right. As Groenewegen veered to the right Jakobsen was sent barreling into the barriers at high speed.

The 23-year-old Dutch rider reportedly collided with the barriers before hitting a photographer near the finish line.

The crash saw Fabio Jakobsen speed into the barriers after he tangled with Dylan Groenewegen. Photo: Luc Claessen/Getty Images

The impact dislodged the safety barriers and knocked both barriers and signage into the path of the speeding peloton. Riders became entangled in the debris and crashed, among them Jasper Philipsen (UAE-Team Emirates) and Marc Sarreau (Groupama-FDJ), among others.

According to AFP Jakobsen was taken to a nearby hospital in serious condition. Race doctor Barbara Jerschina told Polish television Posat Sport that Jakobsen’s life “is directly threatened” by the injuries he sustained.

“A loss of blood, huge and serious injuries,” Jerschina said. “He lost a lot of blood, but we successfully intubated him, his airways were free. We gave him oxygen, all necessary drugs. The heart was working fine. he does not have an injury to the rib cage, it is mostly the skull and brain.”

On Wednesday evening Deceuninck-Quick Step released a statement saying Jakobsen was in serious but stable condition, and that he had been placed into a comatose condition at a hospital in Katowice.

“Fabio Jakobsen’s situation is serious but at the moment he is stable,” said the statement. “Diagnostic test didn’t reveal brain or spinal injury, but because of the gravity of his multiple injuries he is still kept in a comatose condition and has to remain closely monitored in the following days at the Wojewódzki Szpital in Katowice. Further information will be made available in the course of the coming hours. Meanwhile, we would like to thank you for your heartwarming support.”

In the hours following the race judges disqualified Groenewegen and declared Jakobsen the winner, with Sarreau and Luka Mezgec (Mitchelton-Scott) rounding out the podium. According to Groupama-FDJ Sarreau was also taken to a hospital where he will undergo X-rays to scan for broken bones.

“Marc Sarreau is conscious and on his way to the hospital where he will go for X-rays, the team doctor is with him. We will provide you with further news later tonight,” tweeted the team.

The sprint capped off a hilly 195.8-kilometer stage that connected two of Poland’s largest sports stadiums. Riders departed the Silesian Stadium in downtown Chorzów, Poland and tackled a hilly route before the finishing sprint at the Sodek arena in the city of Katowice.

The peloton battled through a few tense moments after a nasty crash that occurred with 7km remaining. As the peloton thundered through the city streets of Katowice, Sebastien Molano (UAE-Team Emirates) hit a traffic island and crashed. After the crash, Team Ineos took control of the pace to protect its GC leader, Richard Carapaz.

The Tour of Poland features an impressive lineup of top sprinters, with Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma), Mark Cavendish (Bahrain-McLaren), Jasper Philipsen (UAE-Team Emirates), and Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick Step) all in attendance.

This year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Tour of Poland has barred any media from attending the race.

AFP contributed to this report. We here at VeloNews send our thoughts and prayers to Fabio Jakobsen for a speedy recovery. 

Results
1. Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck–Quick-Step), 4:31:50
2. Marc Sarreau (Groupama-FDJ), s.t.
3. Luka Mezgec (Mitchelton-Scott), s.t.
4. Jasper Philipsen (UAE-Team Emirates), s.t.
5. Ryan Gibbons (NTT Pro Cycling), s.t.
6. Szymon Sajnok (CCC Team), s.t.
7. Damien Touzé (Cofidis Solutions Crédits), s.t.
8. Roger Kluge (Lotto Soudal), s.t.
9. Moreno Hofland (EF Pro Cycling), s.t.
10. Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo), s.t.