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(Reuters) - Fabio Jakobsen returned to racing more than eight months after suffering horrific injuries at the Tour of Poland, as he completed the opening stage of the Tour of Turkey on Sunday.
The 24-year-old Dutchman finished in 147st place, 10 seconds behind the main bunch, but the Deceuninck-Quick Step rider was simply happy to be back in the peloton.
"I love riding my bike and I missed it a lot, that's why I am extremely happy to be here," said Jakobsen, who still bears the scars of the accident.
"It was good for me to make my return with a short stage and get used again to being in a peloton.
"I must admit that in the beginning, when they went right and left and the bunch had to brake a couple of times, I got a bit scared, but afterwards everything was fine and I even went to the head of the peloton and stayed in Iljo's (Keisse) wheel, who was pulling, as I just wanted to enjoy being at the front."
Jakobsen was placed in a medically-induced coma and underwent five hours of surgery for a brain trauma after being pitched into the barriers after a high-speed collision with compatriot Dylan Groenewegen as they sprinted to the finish on the first stage of the Tour of Poland last August.
He also suffered severe facial injuries and needed reconstructive surgery with bone from his pelvic crest being used to rebuild his upper and lower jaw.
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Christian Radnedge)