Nearly two months after suffering terrible injuries to his face in a crash at the Tour de Pologne, Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quickstep) returned to social media on Thursday to announce he would be undergoing reconstructive surgery to repair his jaw next week.
The former Dutch champion crashed after being put into the barriers of the opening stage’s high-speed sprint finish by compatriot Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma), suffering a serious head injury and severe damage to his jaw and palate, losing most of his teeth.
Jakobsen said in his post on Twitter on Thursday: “The past two months have been dominated by my recovery after my crash in the Tour of Poland. First of all, I had to recover from my brain contusion and other bruises/injuries for a long time.
“The wounds/scars on my face are healing up well. I would like to thank all the staff of the LUMC and in particular Dr. H. Locher and M. Hendriksma for the good care these past months,” Jakobsen wrote.
“On October 8, I will undergo a second surgery to reconstruct my face/mouth. The surgery takes place at Radboud UMC Nijmegen and I am in the hands of Prof. Dr. S. Bergé and Prof. Dr. G. Meijer. The surgery involves placing bone, taken from my pelvic crest, in my upper and lower jaw, because a lot of bone is missing there. This bone will have to heal for several months.
“After that, another surgery will take place to put implants in my jaw so that I can get new teeth, as I lost them during my crash.”
The crash was so violent – Jakobsen’s impact sent the course-side barriers flying into the path of the rest of the sprinting peloton – that it shocked the entire cycling world, made his team fear for Jakobsen’s life, and spurred riders to demand increased safety measures such as standards for course barriers and course inspections.
The UCI pointed its blame at Groenewegen, who still faces a decision from the federation’s Disciplinary Commission on whether he will be further punished for causing the wreck.
Groenewegen apologized after the crash and took blame for the incident. He was also injured after crashing because of the impact, suffering a broken collarbone, as well as emotional fallout from the incident, and will not race until next season at the earliest.
Two weeks after the crash, Jakobsen sent a message through his team, thanking the physicians in the hospital in Sosnowiec, Poland for saving his life and wrote, “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.”