Mark Cavendish says he’s “honoured to witness how deep somebody can go,” after training with injured sprinter Fabio Jakobsen.
Jakobsen has been battling back to fitness after suffering awful injuries during the opening stage of the 2020 Tour of Poland, and is now riding with his team-mates after five months of recovery.
British sprinting star Cavendish has been training with Dutchman Jakobsen during the Deceuninck – Quick-Step winter camp in Spain.
In an Instagram post Cavendish, the winner of 30 Tour de France stages, said: “It’s special that at 35 years old, I can still get inspired every day by seeing someone ride. The cycling world knows what Fabio has unfortunately got to come back from.
“It’s not nice, but I feel honoured to witness how deep somebody can go, how much fight and desire they have in them to return, and how unafraid of being seen to suffer they are.
“Watch this kid smoke the world again.”
Jakobsen’s crash happened in the sprint finish of stage one of the Tour of Poland last August when Jumbo-Visma’s Dylan Groenewegen pushed him into a barrier at high speed.
Jakobsen suffered facial injuries and a serious concussion in the fall, while Groenewegen broke his collarbone.
After being disqualified from the race, Groenewegen has now been banned from racing for nine months by the UCI.
Following the crash, Jakobsen underwent surgery to reconstruct his jaw using part of his pelvis and had to wait for the pelvic bone to heal before he could get back on the bike, and then went for his first ride in November.
Jakobsen needs further surgery in February and is still not sure when he can return to racing, but the 24-year-old is determined to compete again.
He said: “Right now I am riding my bike again, doing training rides with the guys here. The feeling on the bike is ok and for now it’s going slowly but steadily towards feeling again a professional bike rider.
“Everybody here at Deceuninck – Quick-Step supported me and I am grateful for that. Being now at the side of last year’s best Tour de France sprinter and the biggest sprinter in the history of the race gives me a huge motivation.
“I still don’t know when I will be back to racing, as in February I am scheduled for another surgery, but the most important thing is that I am here with the guys. I can’t tell you what it means for me after the worst experience of my life.
“This team is like a family, we spend time with each other, we care for each other, and I’m just happy to be with them.”