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Doull claims Kittel's 'lethal' disc brake bike almost caused serious injury

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The results of the stage 1 crash at the Abu Dhabi Tour for Owain Doull

The results of the stage 1 crash at the Abu Dhabi Tour for Owain Doull (Image credit: Sophie Smith)
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Owain Doull's foot and shoe after the crash

Owain Doull's foot and shoe after the crash (Image credit: Sophie Smith)
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Owain Doull ended up with a slice to his sock after the crash

Owain Doull ended up with a slice to his sock after the crash (Image credit: Sophie Smith)
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Owain Doull's damaged shoe

Owain Doull's damaged shoe (Image credit: Sophie Smith)
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Owain Doull (Team Sky)

Owain Doull (Team Sky) (Image credit: Twitter / Radsport)
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Marcel Kittel keeps safe in the peloton

Marcel Kittel keeps safe in the peloton (Image credit: Tim de Waele/

Owain Doull has called for disc brakes to be banned unless protective casings are introduced after suffering a crash on the opening day of the Abu Dhabi Tour in which he claims one of Marcel Kittel's rotors slashed through his shoe.

The Team Sky rider hit the deck with a kilometre remaining and showed Cyclingnews and other reporters his left shoe, which had a straight cut in two parts running almost the entire length of the forefoot.

Standing receiving treatment for road rash on his backside, Doull pointed to his foot, where a cut – fortunately not too deep – was showing through a tear in his sock.

"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."

"Nothing else could cut like that, it's like a knife, it cut straight through it. You can see that thin line, it's exactly in line, cut there and cut there on my shoe and both straight through in an arrow-straight line."

Kittel is the only rider at the Abu Dhabi Tour using disc brakes, which were reintroduced to the professional peloton on a re-trial basis this season after the original 2016 trial was halted when Fran Ventoso suffered a gash to his leg.

One condition of the reintroduction of disc brakes was that the rotors would be rounded to remove sharp edges, and Kittel was indeed using rounded Shimano rotors, having previously insisted he wouldn't use the technology otherwise.

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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."

This incident is likely to intensify the great disc brake debate at a time when the topic has come to the boil once more, with Cyclingnews revealing heated exchanges between the CPA riders association and the UCI.

The CPA claims that over 80 per cent of the peloton is unhappy with the current situation, with around 40 per cent against disc brakes per se and the other 40 unhappy until two conditions are introduced – protective casings and a stop to having mixed braking systems in the same peloton.

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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.