The UCI has confirmed in a brief statement to Cyclingnews that it is gathering evidence on the late crash at the Abu Dhabi Tour involving Owain Doull (Team Sky) and Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors), but the governing body made no indication that the trial of disc brakes in professional races will be suspended despite a call from Doull for a ban unless protective casings are introduced.
The Briton rider crashed with Kittel – the only user of disc brakes at the Abu Dhabi Tour – and other riders in the final kilometre of the opening stage. He suggested one of Kittel’s rotors slashed through his shoe. Kittel used the same Specialized bike at the recent Dubai Tour. The disc brakes have flattened edges but are not protected by any kind of guard.
After the stage, Doull showed Cyclingnews and other reporters his left shoe, which had a straight cut running almost the entire length of the forefoot.
"My shoe was cut to pieces. That’s definitely a disc brake that has done that," said Doull. "It’s gone straight through the shoe into my foot. It’s lucky that’s not my leg to be honest. If anything I’ve come off lucky there. If that’d been my leg it would have cut straight through it, for sure. You’ve seen my shoe – it’s gone straight through that."
Asked whether he had a stance on disc brakes, Doull replied: "I definitely do now. In my opinion unless there are covers on those things they’re pretty lethal."
A few hours after the stage, after high-definition overhead footage of the crash emerged, some suggested the rusty foot of the roadside barriers the British rider crashed into could have been the cause.
Whatever the cause, rider safety continues to be an important topic and source of conflict between the CPA riders association and the UCI.
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Cyclingnews revealed recent heated exchanges between the CPA riders association and the UCI concerning disc brakes. The CPA initially accepted the return of the season-long trial for 2017 but then apparently backtracked after a majority if its members raised concerns about the lack of covers and about braking times.
Despite several riders calling on the UCI to act after this latest crash, the sport's governing body refused to make any sudden decisions.
The UCI suspended the 2016 trial of disc brakes a few days after Spain’s Francisco Ventoso claimed his nasty injury was caused by a disc brake during Paris-Roubaix. There is no indication they will make a snap decision this time.
"The trial of disc brakes in road events is closely monitored and formally reviewed on a regular basis," the UCI said in a brief statement sent to Cyclingnews. "We are gathering evidence on this specific incident and will review all elements in our possession in due course."