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Video: Team Sky's Owain Doull says disc rotor "cut through" his shoe "like a knife" in Abu Dhabi Tour crash, but video casts doubt on claim

“They’re pretty lethal to be honest," says Welsh rider of the controversial technology… but was Kittel's disc brake really to blame?...

Team Sky's Owain Doull says a disc brake  rotor "cut straight through" his shoe "like a knife" following a crash with 1 kilometre remaining of today's opening stage of he Abu Dhabi Tour. But helicopter footage of the incident is inconclusive over whether there was contact between him and Marcel Kittel, the rider whose bike he believes was responsible.

The Welsh rider was speaking to journalist Gregor Brown who uploaded the above video of the conversation to the Cycling Journos on the Road YouTube account.

Doull said: “My shoe’s cut to pieces, that’s definitely brakes that did that.

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“It’s gone straight through my shoe into my foot," explained the 23-year-old, who said it was "lucky it is not my leg.”

He continued: "It’s like a knife, you know. Just cut straight through that.”

The Team Sky rider believes that Marcel Kittel of Quick Step Floors, who was also involved in the crash, is the only rider involved in the crash who was using disc brakes.

He added: “They’re pretty lethal to be honest. I’ve come off lucky.”

In the moments before the crash, Doull in the black of Team Sky can be seen just ahead of a Sunweb rider in white  in the overhead footage posted online by Eurosport, with Kittel, in his team's blue kit with a white helmet, to the outside of the pair.

Doull, who sustained road rash with his jersey and shorts both badly torn, comes down hard towards the barriers, knocking one out of place.

It appears that it was the Sunweb rider who hit Kittel's rear wheel, catapulting the German - and his bike - 15 metres down the road, and it's the same rider who crashes into Doull.

While Doull may be convinced of what happened, knowing the exact chain of events that led to the slicing of his shoe in the inevitable maelstrom of riders, bikes and equipment that accompanies a high speed crash means it's always going to be difficult to know who exactly hit what or vice-versa with any degree of certainty.

We're far from sure there was contact between Doull and Kittel's bike, and there have been suggestions on social media that the damage to the Team Sky rider's shoe could have been caused by the foot of the crash barrier, which on the TV footage in the aftermath of the crash does appear to have a sharp edge to it - as shown in this post to Twitter by Cycling Weekly jounalist Nigel Wynn.

Wynn added: "Barrier leg shown in that Abu Dhabi Tour footage appears to be rusty and jutting upwards - not good."

The UCI has reintroduced its trial of disc brakes this season after suspending it following Paris-Roubaix last year when Movistar rider Fran Ventoso claimed that a deep cut in his leg had been caused by a disc brake rotor slicing into him during a crash.

Their use in the peloton remains controversial, however. Kittel's Quick Step Floors team mate Tom Boonen is a huge fan of the technology, but Dimension Data's Mark Cavendish - winner of today's stage - has expressed strong concerns about the safety aspect.

Three-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome said in January last year that it would be safer if all riders in a race were required to use the same type of brakes.

He said: "Having different braking systems in the peloton would be more dangerous.”

Chris Froome talks safety concerns of disc brakes in the pro peloton

This afternoon, he retweeted a picture that Doull had taken of his shoe, with Froome copying in the accounts of the UCI, the professional riders' association the CPA, and the British and Irish Professional Cyclists' Association.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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