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Bradley Wiggins says cycling could learn from athletics to avoid repeat of Fabio Jakobsen crash

Painted lanes could prevent sprinters from deviating from line; meanwhile team doctor hopeful Jakobsen will be back racing at some point

Sir Bradley Wiggins says road markings similar to lanes on athletics tracks could help sprinters ensure they do not deviate from their line at the end of races and avoid a repeat of the horrific crash at the Tour de Pologne last week that left Fabio Jakobsen with serious injuries.

Meanwhile, the doctor at Jakobsen’s Deceuninck Quick Step team says he hopes the Dutch national champion will return to racing – although he added that there was no way of predicting when that might be.

Speaking on his Eurosport podcast, Wiggins said that following last week’s crash, “I instantly thought of the 100m race in athletics and the lanes.

“Lots of sprinters sprint with their head down or looking five metres ahead and are constantly aware of riders coming up, and sometimes you can tend to naturally drift slightly – as Groenewegen did,” a charitable interpretation, given that the Jumbo-Visma rider also flicked an elbow out at Jakobsen.

Indeed, Groenewegen, who has apologised for causing the crash, is currently suspended by his team pending the outcome of a disciplinary hearing brought by the UCI.

> Fabio Jakobsen out of coma as team mulls legal action against Dylan Groenewegen

Wiggins’ suggestion is to place “Some sort of markings, or something on a road, systematically in every race, for the last 50 metres even, so you’ve got some bearing of where you are.

“A lot of sprinters, they don’t do it intentionally, it’s a natural instinct when someone’s coming on either side of you,” he continued.

“If you are aware of seeing lines crossing under your wheel as you’re going, you’ll realise that you’re going to get disqualified so you may back off.

“It might not work, but it’s the only thing I can think of when you’re flat-out sprinting. Something needs to be done rather than just disqualifying riders.

“Someone like Groenewegen now has to live with the consequences of that – no-one in the professional peloton intentionally goes out to do that to a rider,” he added.

Yvan Vanmol, Deceuninck-Quick Step’s team doctor, said he hoped Jakobsen, who is now out of the induced coma he was placed in following the crash, will be able to return to the Netherlands by the weekend.

The 23 year old sustain severe facial injuries in the crash and currently is unable to talk, although he can communicate by text message.

Vanmol told the Belgian broadcaster Sporza: “Given the seriousness of the accident, Fabio Jakobsen is doing very well.

“Fabio is fully conscious. He can't talk yet, but communicating via text messages is fine.

“At the end of next week he will be ready to be transferred to the Netherlands", he continued.

“What we are still concerned about is the aesthetic damage and possibly the muscle group around his mouth. Since no vital organs have been affected, we hope for the best.”

Asked if Jakobsen will return to racing, Vanmol said:  “I do not dare to put a deadline on it, but we can assume that Fabio will be a rider again.
“We are certainly communicating positive messages to him. That way Fabio also gets hope for recovery.”

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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