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While the 24-year-old is not quite up to speed yet with his teammates, he’s seen improvements in his form and continues to ride the comeback trail.
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“At the moment, I can ride my bike again. I train here with my teammates, although I do not go to all training with them. Sometimes I go back to the hotel [before] they do. However, I feel good on the bike. Everything is going quite slowly, but gradually I’m starting to be a professional cyclist again. There is still a long way to go, but I’m pleased with where I am now,” said the Dutch rider.
Jakobsen says he’s thrilled to be out training again, with current and former world champions and Tour de France green jersey winners.
“I am now on the team with the best sprinter of the last Tour de France [Sam Bennett] but also one of the best sprinters of the [Tour] ever [Mark Cavendish]. This is really a great motivation,” he said.
Jakobsen was involved in a high-speed crash on stage 1 of the 2020 Tour of Poland. In the final 100m, Jumbo-Visma sprinter Dylan Groenewegen deviated from his line and bumped Jakobsen who careened off-course, into road-side barriers and an overhead arch at 70kph. The Deceuninck-Quick-Step rider lost a lot of blood and was near death.
After spending five days in a medically induced coma, and undergoing maxillofacial surgery to begin restoring all but one of his teeth, the young rider made a relatively speedy recovery, eager to return to everyday life, and racing his bike. While Jakobsen has no exact date for a return to racing, he’s hopeful it will be later this coming spring.
Jakobsen said, “I got back on the bike and I would like to give a date for my return to racing, but the only certain date for me at the moment is February when I will have another surgery. I have to wait and see how it turns out. If all goes well I will be able to start racing again a month or two later. If there are any complications I will have to postpone my return. It’s hard for me to say exactly when I will return to racing. I hope it will happen as soon as possible.”
While Deceuninck-Quick-Step riders saw brilliant victories last season, they also experienced setbacks, with several near-misses, and also the loss of Remco Evenepoel early in the racing restart after the pause for the COVID-19 lockdown.
Evenepoel is also still in recovery mode, following his crash at Il Lombardia. Jakobsen sympathizes with the Belgian’s situation and indicates the entire team puts in the effort to get “The Wolfpack” back together on the road.
“Together with Remco, we support each other in the recovery process, but not only does he help me, but also the whole team — colleagues, management, and [team] service. Everyone is very supportive, they are very nice and it motivates me to come back,” Jakobsen in a press conference Wednesday.
“It’s hard to put into words, but it’s a great feeling. This accident was one of the worst moments of my life for me and the following weeks were very difficult. Being here [with Deceuninck-QuickStep] makes me very happy,” said Jakobsen. “As Mark [Cavendish] said just now, this team is like family. We spend time together, we help each other and we like ourselves very much. This is how I feel here.”