Fabio Jakobsen has opened up on his horrific crash in 2020, saying it has made him a “humble and grateful” person.
Jakobsen collided with Dylan Groenewegen in a sprint finish at the Tour of Poland and hit the barriers hard, which left him with a fractured skull, broken nose, facial lacerations and almost no teeth.
He was placed in a medically-induced coma but made an incredible return to the peloton eight months later at the Tour of Turkey.
“It was a process which went step by step,” Jakobsen told Eurosport. “For some people it might have gone fast, but in the end it was almost a year.
“I just took it one day at a time and one race at a time, one training at a time. I think that’s the way you want to approach something like that because if you would have seen me on August 6, then thought where I would be now, it would be impossible to imagine.
“You should not think about the past too much. But if you see there is progress, it’s actually good to remember where you came from.
“To this day, I still have that now. So that makes me a very humble and grateful person to be here, to still be a professional bike rider is something that I love to do. I’m happy I’m not that scared that I don’t want to race the bike anymore.”
Jakobsen has previously revealed the last memory he has of the stage was racing behind his team-mates Davide Ballerini and Florian Senechal, before his “mind went blank”.
The Soudal–Quick-Step rider now says getting his mind in a place to go all-out in the final sprint was one of the toughest aspects of his road to recovery.
“I was missing 10 teeth, some bone in the in the facial area,” he said. “I lost 10kg of body. So you could say fat, muscle and some teeth. So first the goal was to just become a normal man again.
“After that, try to see if I can still build a condition if my body would accept cycling and top sport. Then to test that mentally in a race because with what happened to me I can easily be scared and think, ‘it’s not for me anymore, I almost lost my life’.
“But the physical part went quite smoothly, as everybody would normally expect. In a couple of months, you start to get muscle again and condition is building and then to try out if I could still do it in the final [sprint] in the race.
“There was something was quite scary. I had to really overcome that fear to re-enter the final and be there, where the danger can happen, and where you can be scared or fearful.”
Groenewegen was suspended for nine months after being blamed for the incident as he deviated from his line, although race organisers also came in for heat after concerns were raised about the safety barriers.
‘It was a hard time’ – Groenewegen on bouncing back from Jakobsen crash after Stage 3 win
“In the end his son [who was also threatened] can do nothing about it,” the 26-year-old said. “He is the one that was innocent.
“In my opinion, his father could have done things differently. But I don’t want to let that feeling get in the way of connecting to his son, or his wife or his family, because that’s not the way to do it.
“Where it went wrong was between me and him. I tried to keep it there and don’t let it bother me as much in other aspects of life, and even towards his son.”
– – –
Read the full article here