Fabio Jakobsen feels “grateful to be alive” but faces months of further surgery and treatment following a serious crash in the Tour of Poland.
The Deceuninck-QuickStep rider was placed in an induced coma in hospital after a coming-together with Dylan Groenewegen saw him collide with the barriers at high speed during a sprint finish of the opening stage.
Groenewegen, who was “devastated” by the incident, was suspended by Jumbo-Visma and could be facing further punishment from the UCI.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Jakobsen detailed the lengthy recovery period he is now facing after admitting he feared he would die in hospital when he became conscious in intensive care.
“The trauma doctors and nurses at the finish line in Katowice saved my life, for which I am extremely grateful to them,” the 23-year-old said.
“I spent a week in the intensive care unit at St. Barbara hospital in Sosnowiec. Here they immediately operated on me for five hours and gave me the chance to live. I am very grateful to all employees of this hospital.
“It was a difficult, dark period for me in the ICU, where I was afraid of not surviving. Thanks in part to the organization behind the Tour de Pologne and my team Deceuninck – Quick-Step, my family was able to be close to me, which gave me a lot of strength.
“Last Wednesday I was transferred to the Leiden University Medical Center. I was admitted to the ENT department and treated further. Step by step I can start to live more independently.
“Currently I am at home, where the wounds in my face and my injuries can continue to recover. In addition, I have to rest a lot in the coming months because of a severe concussion. In the coming weeks and months, I will undergo multiple surgeries and treatments to fix facial injuries.
“Hereby, I want to let everyone know that I am very grateful that I am still alive. All the messages and words of support have given me tremendous strength. Step by step I can slowly look to the future, and I will fight to recover.
“In particular I would like to thank Dr. Rafael, who was my surgeon in Poland, Dr. Vanmol, who was present as a team doctor in Poland, Patrick Lefevere who brought my family close to me and Agata Lang and family who, on behalf of the Tour of Poland, did very well in taking care of my family.”