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Abu Dhabi: Contador and Mollema crash, call sprint teams out for dangerous riding

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Alberto Contador made the Abu Dhabi Tour a late addition to his calendar

Alberto Contador made the Abu Dhabi Tour a late addition to his calendar (Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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Bauke Mollema ready to ride in Abu Dhabi

Bauke Mollema ready to ride in Abu Dhabi (Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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Sole American in the race Kiel Reijnen (Trek-Segafredo)

Sole American in the race Kiel Reijnen (Trek-Segafredo) (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alberto Contador was popular at the start

Alberto Contador was popular at the start (Image credit: ANSA - Peri / Bazzi)
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Mark Cavendish beat Andre Greipel to win the opening stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour

Mark Cavendish beat Andre Greipel to win the opening stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)

The sprint stages of the Abu Dhabi Tour weren’t meant to be of much consequence to the Trek-Segafredo team, who are instead waiting patiently for the GC showdown on stage 3, but Alberto Contador and his teammates found themselves in full train formation in the closing phases of the opening stage.

They weren’t winding it up at the head of the race, but frantically trying to rejoin the peloton from behind after both of their leaders here, Contador and Bauke Mollema, hit the deck in a crash with five kilometres remaining.

Contador jumped on Julien Bernard’s bike and the whole squad busted a gut to get back in the frame, only for another crash to disrupt their progress with around one kilometre remaining.

All riders were eventually given the same time, and neither Contador nor Mollema appeared to have been seriously hurt.

"With a bit of luck there are no consequences," Contador told Cyclingnews at the team bus. "All good – just my throat," he added, referring to the minor respiratory problems riders are prone to picking up in heavily air-conditioned hotels.

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Deputy Editor - Europe. Patrick is an NCTJ-trained journalist who has seven years’ experience covering professional cycling. He has a modern languages degree from Durham University and has been able to put it to some use in what is a multi-lingual sport, with a particular focus on French and Spanish-speaking riders. After joining Cyclingnews as a staff writer on the back of work experience, Patrick became Features Editor in 2018 and oversaw significant growth in the site’s long-form and in-depth output. Since 2021 he has been Deputy Editor - Europe, taking more responsibility for the site’s content as a whole, while still writing and - despite a pandemic-induced hiatus - travelling to races around the world. Away from cycling, Patrick spends most of his time playing or watching other forms of sport - football, tennis, trail running, darts, to name a few, but he draws the line at rugby.