Fabio Jakobsen: Doctor confident cyclist can race again

But it is predicted that her road to recovery will be “long and arduous,” with “talking and eating” likely to be a “challenge in the period ahead,” according to her team.

Jakobsen, 23, had been kept in an induced coma after hitting a barrier during an 80-kilometer-per-hour sprint to the finish line of the Tour of Poland’s first stage in Katowice last Wednesday.

Dylan Groenewegen had drifted in the Dutch cyclist’s path, causing several other riders to fall. A race official also sustained a head injury, according to race organizer Czesław Lang.

“His condition is very good, especially given the seriousness of the incident,” Yvan Vanmol, the doctor for the Deceuninck-QuickStep team at Jakobsen, said in an interview with Belgian channel Sporza after visiting the pilot to hospital.
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‘Long and arduous’

Jakobsen had been woken up by doctors at Sosnowiec hospital on Friday afternoon after undergoing five hours of maxillofacial surgery on Thursday evening.

The runner “was able to move his legs and arms and communicate with doctors, which immediately ruled out major neurological problems,” his team said in a statement on its website on Friday.

But his facial injuries are so severe, “talking and eating will be a challenge in the coming period as the recovery process is expected to be long and arduous,” the team added.

Still, his team doctor was optimistic about Jakobsen’s future in the sport.

“Provided that no vital organs have been injured, of course we hope that everything will be fine,” said Vanmol.

“I guess he will be a pilot again,” he continued, adding that the young Dutchman was “fully awake” and communicating with his team by text. He is expected to be transferred to the Netherlands by the end of this week.

But the doctor on his team declined to give a timetable for his return.

“Our only concern is the cosmetic damage” to her face, and “possibly the activity of the muscles around the mouth,” Vanmol said.

The world of cycling in shock

The accident shocked the cycling community, the International Cycling Union (UCI), the sport’s governing body, “strongly” condemning Groenewegen’s “dangerous behavior” in a statement last week.

The UCI said it would take the incident, which took place during a 195.8-kilometer stage, to a disciplinary committee, while Groenewegen’s Jumbo-Visma team said it would conduct a review internal accident.

Patrick Lefevere, the manager of Deceuninck-Quick-Step, told Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws last week that he would file a complaint with the Polish police about what he called “a very dirty action” by Groenewegen, who was disqualified from the race.

“I’ve been in this game for a long time and I’m not sure I saw such a horrific crash,” former US pilot Lance Armstrong wrote on Twitter.

Groenewegen in tears

Groenewegen gave a tearful interview to Dutch public broadcaster NOS on Friday.

“Let’s be clear, I never intend to endanger other riders,” said Groenewegen. “But it was clearly my fault. I veered off my line and it’s not allowed.”

He said he barely realized he had broken his collarbone the night after the accident, saying: “All I was thinking about was Fabio and his family and I hope that he will recover soon. “

Jumbo-Visma said Groenewegen will not be racing pending the UCI investigation.

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