Bradley Wiggins Show: Fabio Jakobsen’s horror crash means sprinting must change
Bradley Wiggins, speaking on his Eurosport podcast, says something must be done to make cycling sprints safer after the horrific crash involving Fabio Jakobsen.
Sprint / Arrival / Dylan Groenewegen of The Netherlands and Team Jumbo - Visma / Fabio Jakobsen of The Netherlands and Team Deceuninck Quick-Step during the 77th Tour of Poland 2020, Stage 1 in Katowice, Poland.
The crash in Stage 1 of the Tour of Poland resulted in Fabio Jakobsen suffering severe injuries and being put into an induced coma in hospital. He sustained injuries to the eye-socket and jaw in the crash, while also suffering contusions to the chest and an impact to the head.
His initial condition was described as life threatening by doctors at the hospital in Sosnowiec, but thankfully he came out of his coma after two days and an update from the hospital said the 23-year-old was in relatively “good condition”.
During the latest episode of the podcast, Wiggins proposes a potential way to make sprinting safer, suggesting that road markings could help riders notice when they’re drifting from their line.
“I instantly thought of the 100m race in athletics and the lanes,” Wiggins said on the podcast. “Lots of sprinters sprint with their head down or looking five metres ahead and are constantly aware of riders coming up, and sometimes you can tend to naturally drift slightly – as Groenewegen did.
“Some sort of markings, or something on a road, systematically in every race, for the last 50m even, so you’ve got some bearing of where you are.
A lot of sprinters, they don’t do it intentionally, it’s a natural instinct when someone’s coming on either side of you. If you are aware of seeing lines crossing under your wheel as you’re going, you’ll realise that you’re going to get disqualified so you may back off.
“It might not work, but it’s the only thing I can think of when you’re flat-out sprinting. Something needs to be done rather than just disqualifying riders. Someone like Groenewegen now has to live with the consequences of that – no-one in the professional peloton intentionally goes out to do that to a rider.”
Bradley Wiggins on cycling safety after Fabio Jakobsen crash: 'Something has to change'
Groenewegen was disqualified from the rest of the race and the sport’s governing body, the UCI, released a statement condemning the Dutch rider and seemingly place the blame for the incident squarely on the Jumbo-Visma cyclist.
But in the podcast, Brad and his guest Laura Winter criticise that reaction from the UCI.
“Somebody told me during the week that there’s talk of a life ban for Groenewegen," Wiggins . “The UCI need to do one on that if I’m honest, because how do you think he feels? He might not race again because of the trauma and tragedy of what he’s done, and the self-loathing he feels of doing that, because he didn’t do it intentionally.
How about a bit of empathy and a bit of sympathy first and foremost from the UCI before they start wading in with this and that.
“That statement (by the UCI) is just ridiculous. As if you don’t feel bad enough. There was somebody in a coma here. I think the UCI, if they know what’s best, will have a bit of sympathy and let the dust settle for a bit.
“The best thing for cycling is they both start on a race line at full health shaking hands in-front of the peloton. That’s what the sport needs right now.”
'My heart breaks for him'
Laura agreed, telling host Graham Willgoss: “I felt immense sadness for both of them. As Brad said, Groenewegen’s not gone out there deliberately to hurt another rider.
Yes he deviated from his line, but he did not intend to cause huge harm and huge injury. My heart breaks for him.
“Jakobsen has to deal with these injuries now and has a long and arduous road to recovery.
"Groenewegen has to live with this for the rest of his life. It’ll forever be a footnote for the rest of his career. It’ll forever be ‘Groenewegen, who caused that crash in the Tour of Poland…’. It’ll be part of the fabric of his life and that’s something he’ll have to come to terms with."
Tearful Dylan Groenewegen sorry for Tour of Poland crash which put Jakobsen in coma
Wiggins says that watching the crash occur live was a harrowing experience and one that immediately made him think of being in the shoes of Jakobsen’s parents:
“It’s not a nice subject to talk about. We’ve touched in a few times over the last couple of years, because it seems that whenever there’s a crash now there are quite severe consequences because of the speeds now, the disk brakes, the structure and design of the finishes, whatever it is.
“I always put myself in the place of the mum and dad of the rider. You imagine getting the call or watching it live on the TV god forbid and having to travel out to Poland now to be with their son. It’s tragic, it really is, and it certainly puts cycling into perspective.”