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Threats to Dylan Groenewegen are unacceptable and race barriers are to blame for crash, says riders’s union

Threats to Dylan Groenwegen were “unacceptable,” the men’s professional riders’ union has said, while raising concerns about the safety barriers at the Tour of Poland. 

The International Association of Professional Riders (CPA) president, Gianni Bugno, has blamed the Tour of Poland’s race barriers for the seriousness of Fabio Jakobsen’s crash, which happened when Dylan Groenewegan deviated from his sprinting line.

Bugno also shared his disgust at the threats Groenewegen received from the public.

Speaking in a press release on the CPA website, Bugno said: “What happened is inadmissible, unworthy and indecent. Words and actions have weight and those that have been addressed to this boy are unacceptable.

“The finger must be pointed at the dangerous barriers that determined the severity of the fall in which Fabio Jakobsen suffered the most serious consequences.

“Dylan [Groenewegen] made a mistake in the race that he paid dearly, indeed today he is the only one to have paid for what happened at the finish line in Katowice.”

The crash happened at the tour of Poland in the sprint finish of stage one into Katowice with Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) and Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) easily beating the other riders.

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But Groenewegen deviated off his racing line, forcing Jakobsen into the barriers. What happened next was the shocking part as Jakobsen plunged through the barriers.

Jakobsen had to be put into an induced coma and underwent multiple surgeries to help try and heal his facial injuries, with Groenewegen being handed a nine-month ban from racing.

Recently it was revealed that Groenewegen had received threats in the post and was also sent a noose, leading his family to get police protection for the Dutchman, who is a new father.

Bugno continued: “I hope that the controversy will now belong to the past and that once the sentence inflicted on Dylan is served, the whole group will welcome him back with friendship and understanding”

A similar crash happened at the Tour de France in 2017 when Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) forced Mark Cavendish (then Team Dimension Data) into the barriers, seeing Cavendish crash out and Sagan kicked off the race.

The finish into Katowice at the Tour of Poland has received criticism for a while now with the finish being slightly downhill, which means the speeds are dangerously fast when the sprinters are at full tilt.

The press release continued added that the CPA wants all races to have a specific level of barrier quality across all UCI races to make sure this never happens again: “As a movement we must do everything possible to ensure the safety of the events and of their main actors. It is our duty to avoid the physical and moral pain that Fabio, Dylan and many other cyclists, both female and male even in the minor categories have lived and are experiencing”

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