Dylan Groenewegen says he and his family needed police protection after receiving death threats and even a noose in the mail following the Tour of Poland crash last summer that left fellow Dutchman Fabio Jakobsen with life-threatening injuries.
Groenewegen, 27, caused the crash when he deviated from his line on a high-speed downhill finish in Katowice in August. He was handed a nine-month ban by the UCI, in November, although many felt cycling’s world governing body and the local race organisers should have taken more responsibility for the dangerous finish.
Jakobsen, meanwhile, was placed in a medically induced coma for two days and subsequently underwent several reconstructive surgeries to his face. But with the 24-year-old now back on his bike, Groenewegen has spoken for the first time about the extent of the backlash he faced.
“There were such concrete and serious threats that we called the police a few days after the crash,” he told Dutch magazine Helden. “The following days and weeks the police guarded our door. We could not spontaneously leave the house. “We received handwritten letters in the mail, in which even a noose was added with which we could hang our [newborn] child. When you read that message and see that piece of rope, you are terrified.”
Groenewegen added his mental health suffered in the aftermath. His house alarm went off one day, causing him to think “the craziest things”. On another occasion when a driver was tailgating him, he panicked.
“Of course that affects you. What sick world do we live in? The most crazy things go through your head. Getting out of bed in the morning was quite a challenge in that period.”
Meanwhile, the fitness-to-practise tribunal of former Team Sky and British Cycling doctor Richard Freeman was adjourned on Tuesday without once entering public session. Freeman is accused of ordering testosterone to the national velodrome in May 2011 with the intention to dope a rider. Freeman’s defence team were supposed to begin their closing submissions on Tuesday , the tribunal having heard from the General Medical Council, who have brought the charges, last Friday and on Monday.
However, “an unforeseen issue in relation to one of the parties” caused a delay. All parties will now almost certainly need to agree on new dates for the hearing, with Mary O’Rourke QC, Freeman’s counsel, having indicated she would require a day and a half to give her closing submissions, and Wednesday the only remaining day set aside. The tribunal panel is due to hand down a facts decision in writing on March 2.