Heavy crosswinds battered the race as the riders passed through the feed zone, forcing the bunch into echelons. During that time, Kittel, who has won the first two stages of the race, was seen on television pictures with blood running down his face with a cut above his left eye.
Following a discussion with the in-race commissaires and a trip to the medical car, Kittel seemed to indicate to another rider in the peloton that he had received an elbow to the face.
Lefevere later tweeted, “@marcelkittel has been beaten by an @AstanaTeam rider. I hope that the president of the jury takes his responsibility #dubaitour2017.”
The Belgian confirmed to Cyclingnews that he had been told by team members that Kittel had been hit during the echelons. Lefevere then told Cylingnews via text that, “the echelons are a fight but you keep your hands on the handlebars.”
Lefevere added that the team is likely to raise a complaint with the race jury but they wish to discuss it with the riders first.
If found guilty, the rider involved could be disqualified from race.