Kittel: No one to blame for Abu Dhabi crash

'I will lick my wounds now and see how it goes tomorrow,' says Quick-Step sprinter

Marcel Kittel was left to lick his wounds after a crash denied him the opportunity to sprint for the first stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour on Thursday.

The Quick-Step Floors captain locked handlebars with Team Sky rookie Owain Doull on a tight corner at the flamme rouge, causing a pile-up that also took out Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott).

"That’s why the crash happened, because we got stuck with our handlebars," Kittel said.

"[We were] fighting for wheels in the final and after the left corner, I think it was Owain Doull from Sky, we got together with our handlebars and then he rode inside, we got stuck and we both crashed," Kittel said.

"It’s very unfortunate but it happens. I think I can be lucky the way I crashed on the front of my body that I have so far nothing worse than just some skin off. We were there at least, so the team is on the right way without question."

The 28-year-old congregated with teammates past the finish line of the otherwise humdrum stage with what appeared to be minor grazes and jersey tears down his front.

"There is nobody to blame. Everyone is nervous and wants to be in front. What can you do? It could have been also the other way around, that you were lucky and got the handlebars out but it didn’t happen," he said.

Kittel entered Abu Dhabi after a blazing run at the Dubai Tour, where he opened his 2017 season campaign with three stages wins and overall victory. The German sprinter remains confident of his form with another two opportunities on offer this week.

"I felt good, we were on a good way at least to the finish line as a team as well. I will lick my wounds now and see how it goes tomorrow," he said.

The crash prevented a sprint royale between Kittel and arch-rivals Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) and André Greipel (Lotto Soudal), who finished first and second, respectively.

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