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Team Sky’s Owain Doull says his left shoe was sliced clean through by a disc brake rotor in a crash at the end of stage 1 in the Abu Dhabi Tour.
“My shoe’s cut the pieces, that’s definitely brakes that did that,” he said. “It’s gone straight through my shoe into my foot. That’s lucky it is not my leg.”
Doull and several other riders, including Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors) crashed into a barrier on the left side of the road, just under the 1km to go archway on the flat sprint stage that kicked off the four-day race. The 23-year-old Brit said Kittel’s bike, which has disc brakes, is likely the cause of the cut.
“Nothing else could cut like [that]. It’s like a knife, you know. Just cut straight through that,” Doull said. “I think it’s just [Kittel’s bike], which has disc brakes you know.
“They’re pretty lethal to be honest,” he added. “I’ve come off lucky.”
It was not the first time a rider has accused disc rotors of inflicting damage. At Paris-Roubaix in 2016, Movistar’s Fran Ventoso claimed that a large cut on his lower leg was caused by a disc rotor used by the Roompot team. That assertion has been disputed, but Ventoso stands behind the story.
The UCI’s disc brake test period was abandoned following the incident but was then reinstated at the start of the 2017 season, with the stipulation that all disc rotors would be rounded to make them less sharp. In January, Tom Boonen became the first rider to win a professional road race on disc brakes. That was followed up by a win from his teammate, Kittel, at the Dubai Tour.
Disc brakes remain contentious technology within pro cycling. The Cyclistes Professionels Associés (CPA) has called for an end to the current trial period until the safety issue can be fully addressed. “As we have said several times, we are not against the technological innovation, but we are worried above all by the safety of the riders on the road,” said CPA President Gianni Bugno.
Bugno has called for rotors to be protected by covers.
We took a close look at some race footage of the crash, and it cast some doubt on whether Doull’s shoe was actually cut by Kittel’s brake rotor. Read more >>
Gregor Brown contributed to this report.