Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) says he as lost all respect for Dylan Groenewegen (Team BikeExchange–Jayco), the rider who forced him into the barriers in the 2020 Tour of Poland.
Even after Jakobsen’s emotional and redemptive Tour stage victory, he still goes out of his way to place 100% of the blame on Groenewegen — and zero on the organizers of the Polish tour over their lack of safety precautions.
We can well understand that after a near-death experience, facial reconstruction and surgery after surgery, Jakobsen isn’t best buddies with the fellow Dutch sprinter.
That said, Jakobsen’s recent comments about Groenewegen seem misguided — as if his rival is the only sprinter in the World Tour who has ever been a little too aggressive in closing off another rider.
Every top sprinter in the sport has come off his line dozens of times and used his elbows and shoulders to maintain an advantage. These are instinctual reactions made in a faction of a second by alpha male athletes racing at 60kph. They don’t have eyes in the back of their heads, their only focus is the finish line.
If you need a fresh reminder, just read the headlines from yesterday’s Tour de France sprint stage: “Sagan irate as Van Aert cuts him off” and “Caleb Ewan left angry with Van Aert and Sagan after sprint finish.”
I just have to wonder a bit. Has Jakobsen never cut anyone off in a sprint? Has he never once deviated from his line? Is he the one, true gentleman sprinter, a “No, please, you go first” kinda guy?
That seems highly doubtful.
Is it Jakobsen’s belief that Sagan, Van Aert, Mads Pederson or Jasper Philipsen will never give him an elbow? Will he then lose all respect for them, too?
Make no mistake: Dylan Groenewegen was 100% responsible for a crash that almost killed Jakobsen. He was banned nine months, went through a long depression, apologized profusely, almost quit the sport. But that kind of argy-bargy happens more often than not.
My issue is, don’t keep blaming Groenewegen for behavior that every sprinter engages in. And don’t hold him 100% responsible when the Tour of Poland’s terrible lack of safely measures played a huge role in his injuries.
I’m thrilled and impressed with Fabio Jakobsen’d return to the sport. He’s a talented and mentally tough rider who has my tremendous respect. It’s just time to stop treating Groenewegen like he’s pure evil.