Giro d’Italia organiser RCS Sport runs the Emirates race and for 2018, uses Mercedes cars for official vehicles. The incident occurred in the neutral zone at the start of stage one.
Cavendish was one of four riders to crash, returning to his bike before abandoning at kilometre five.
“They [the riders] were near by car, and the car has those sensors that caused it to brake. And it braked,” course director Stefano Allocchio said after the stage
“Unfortunately, it’s one of these things. Tonight we will talk to a mechanics to make sure they are deactivated. We don’t want to risk this happening again.”
Allocchio, who sits shotgun with an official driver at the wheel, said it was the first time such a thing has happened in a race with organiser RCS Sport. The organiser will visit Cavendish and Dimension Data tonight to talk about the incident.
“We will see [what we are going to say to the riders] tonight,” Allocchio added. “We are going to go find Cav and have a talk.”
Riders spread out and others passed on both sides of the silver Mercedes E300 EMC when it slowed, but Cavendish and Team Sky rider Leonardo Basso were one of the riders brought down behind the car
“Cavendish crashed in my wheel,” Basso told Cycling Weekly. “The car in front the riders braked, all the riders braked. I heard the crash behind me, it was Cavendish and some of the Bardiani guys. The car braked, but I don’t know why.”
Cavendish’s abandon was described by the team as a “massive blow”, with Mekseb Debesay being Dimension Data’s best place rider on the opening stage, finishing in 23rd place
“We can’t beat around the bush, it’s not the best situation,” Dimension Data sports director Roger Hammond explained.
“The most important thing was to make sure that Cav got the care he needed. Something happened, a touch of wheels. And they are always the worst, those slow crashes, whereas on high speed crashes you tend to slide.”
Hammond said that Cavendish is still due to race Tirreno-Adriatico (March 7-13) and Milan-San Remo (March 17) in Italy next month.