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VN news ticker: Fabio Jakobsen returns to racing; Elia Viviani out of Tour of Flanders

Here's what's making headlines on Friday, April 2.

Fabio Jakobsen returns to racing at the Tour of Turkey

Deceuninck-Quick-Step sprinter Fabio Jakobsen is planning to make his return to racing at the 2021 Tour of Turkey, April 11-16.

Jakobsen was involved in a high-speed crash on stage 1 of the 2020 Tour of Poland. In the final 100m, Jumbo-Visma sprinter Dylan Groenewegen deviated from his line and bumped Jakobsen who careened off-course, into road-side barriers and an overhead arch at 70kph. The Deceuninck-Quick-Step rider lost a lot of blood and was near death.

In the crash, Jakobsen lost nearly all of his teeth. He underwent reconstructive surgery which included implanting bone into his jaw which had been grafted from his pelvic crest.

“The surgery involve[d] placing bone, taken from my pelvic crest, in my upper and lower jaw, because a lot of bone is missing there,” Jakobsen wrote.

Jakobsen was able to attend training camps with his team earlier this year but continued to train on a modified training program.

In mid-February, the Dutchman underwent another round of maxillofacial surgery, also requiring a period of rest following the procedure.

“In the beginning [of his return to racing] it may take some getting used to, but it will also take some getting used to riding in the peloton. He hasn’t done that for six months either. But that man is still going to sprint, I have no doubt about that. And he’s going to win sprints too!” said team doctor Yvan Vanmol.

“Whether he is also ‘bunch-sprint ready?’ A sprinter does not forget that,” the team physician added. “From the moment he woke up, he remembers what happened. But he does not remember the fall itself. He only knows them from the video images. However, it is not etched in his brain.”

Elia Viviani out of Tour of Flanders

Italian Elia Viviani will not start the 2021 Tour of Flanders this Sunday.

The Cofidis rider crashed at Wednesday’s Dwars door Vlaanderen and has been suffering shoulder and knee pain a reports a Dutch news source.

Hitting the ground on the Mariaborrestraat with nearly 60km to go, Viviani was taken to a nearby hospital for examination and observation.

While the 2016 Olympic omnium gold medalist sustained no fractures, the 32-year-old said he is targeting a start at the Scheldeprijs next week.

Peter Sagan recons Tour of Flanders course

Peter Sagan has arrived in Belgium ahead of Sunday’s big clash at Tour of Flanders.

The three-time world champion joined his Bora-Hansgrohe teammates for a preview of key sections of the Flanders course during a training ride Thursday. Sagan, who skipped part of the spring classics to race at the Volta a Catalunya, will line up among the favorites Sunday.

“Peter rode the final of the Ronde, with all the important climbs from Kwaremont,” sport director Jean-Pierre Heynderickx told HLN.com. “It remains to be seen, of course, how he will feel on Sunday. His schedule cannot be compared with previous years, but Sagan is looking forward to the Ronde. He wants to ride over the cobblestones again, and I think he wants to show himself.”

Sagan was diagnosed with COVID-19 in late January and was slow to recover. Fourth at Milano-Sanremo and a stage win at Catalunya bode well for the Slovakian superstar in the final year of his contract.

“We estimate him fairly highly,” Heynderickx said. “His Milano-Sanremo was good, and he has experience and sufficient mileage.”

Tadej Pogačar, Brandon McNulty headline UAE-Emirates for Tour of the Basque Country

Defending Tour de France champion Tadej Pogačar leads a top-tier UAE-Emirates lineup for next week’s Tour of the Basque Country. The Slovenian supremo heads up a team that also includes Marc Hirschi, Rafal Majka, and American star Brandon McNulty, who turns 23 on Friday.

Having won both of his weeklong races of the season, Pogačar is top of the list of favorites and racing for results at the hilly six-stage race next week.

“I’m feeling pretty good,” Pogačar said. “I got to have a bit of a break after Tirreno, then I did some wind tunnel testing and a few media and sponsor engagements. I’m excited for Basque Country. I did this race a couple of years ago and the fans there are really passionate about cycling, I love it there. There will be a lot of hard racing for sure and the level will be high as always, but I hope to be up there fighting to win the ‘Txapela’.”

McNulty will be looking to keep his upward momentum after riding high at both Paris-Nice and Volta a Catalunya as he heads toward a leadership role at the Giro d’Italia.

Primož Roglič, Adam Yates, Richard Carapaz, Tao Geoghegan Hart, and Michael Woods are also slated to be starting at the race, which rolls out Monday.

Stay tuned to VeloNews.com for a preview of Tour of the Basque Country on Monday.

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Christian Prudhomme on Paris-Roubaix postponement

Christian Prudhomme said ASO had no option other than to postpone Paris-Roubaix until October. The race organizers tried to find a solution to keep the race on its scheduled April date, but worsening health conditions forced their hand.

Also read: Paris-Roubaix rescheduled for October

“We had hoped when we made the reconnaissance of the course last week we could find concrete, tangible solutions. The goal was to see if by removing certain sectors, we could have more easily held the potential audience,” Prudhomme told L’Equipe. “It was very meticulous, but it didn’t work. We have not obtained authorization.

“Unfortunately, we don’t decide everything,” he said. “The decision to postpone was taken in close collaboration with elected officials and according to the health constraints of the moment. The situation is not the same as a month ago … when we were able to modify the last two stages of Paris-Nice. Races take place on the other side of the border, it is true, but Belgium is not confined. I can assure you that we did everything we could do, until the end, to keep the event on its initial date.”