WARSAW: Cyclist Fabio Jakobsen (pix) has been wakened from an artificial coma two days after a heavy crash at the opening stage of the Tour of Poland.
“We have good news from the hospital in Sosnowiec,” the Tour tweeted on Friday. “@FabioJakobsen is awake now from the coma. Condition is ‘good’.”
The massive incident is being investigated by the country’s prosecutors.
“We have heard from three witnesses so far, including a representative from the organization of the race,” a spokesperson for the prosecutors said late Thursday according to Polish news agency PAP.
Further witnesses will be interviewed and evidence analysed to determine whether there was criminal fault in the crash which left Jakobsen badly injured and also hurt a race judge.
The 23-year-old Dutchman Jakobsen crashed into barriers at around 80 kilometres an hour at the finish line of Wednesday’s stage following downhill sprint. He suffered severe facial and head injuries, underwent surgery and was gradually revived on Friday.
Jakobsen’s compatriot Dylan Groenewegen was blamed for the crash and disqualified from the race.
German cycling veteran Jens Voigt said he deserves a harsh penalty
“I think [being banned for] three to six months,” Voigt told Sport1 late Thursday night.
“It would have to be something that hurts and sends a signal to all the other pros as well: Here a red line has been crossed, we don’t accept that any more,” the 48-year-old said.
Voigt said one cannot play with the life, career or health of a colleague.
“If the line was so obviously crossed and life and limb were deliberately risked, there must be harsher punishments.”
Groenewegen underwent surgery on his collarbone and is now facing disciplinary proceedings.
Voigt also accused the UCI governing body of being complicit.
“Since they have approved [the race and the track], they cannot wash their hands of the matter afterwards and blame the organiser,” said the 17-time Tour de France participant.
Other past and present cyclists have criticized the track since the accident, which ends in a very steep narrow sprint.
Last year Belgian cyclist Bjorg Lambrecht died at the 2019 Tour of Poland.
The 22-year-old Lotto-Soudal rider died after crashing into a concrete obstacle during a stage from Chorzow to Zabrze. – dpa