Cyclist Dylan Groenewegen was banned from racing for nine months on Wednesday for causing a sprint-finish crash that left a rival in a coma and with severe facial injuries.
The International Cycling Union said its disciplinary panel ruled Groenewegen cannot compete again until May 7. He will miss the spring season of one-day classic races plus week-long races including Paris-Nice, where he has won stages in previous seasons.
“The crash in the first stage of the Tour of Poland will forever be a black page in my career,” the Dutch rider said in a statement published by his Jumbo-Visma team.
Groenewegen, who has four Tour de France stage wins in his career, veered right in a sprint to the finish line on Aug. 5, forcing Fabio Jakobsen to crash into roadside barriers.
Jakobsen was awarded the stage win after Groenewegen was disqualified. He was treated in a medically induced coma and left needing reconstructive surgery on his face and jaw.
The UCI said Groenewegen “acknowledged that he deviated from his line and committed a violation” of race rules.
“I hope this has been a wise lesson for every sprinter,” Groenewegen said. “I follow the news of Fabio’s recovery very closely. I can only hope that one day he will return completely.”