Abu Dhabi Tour organisers blame car's automatic sensors for making it brake and cause Mark Cavendish crash

Organisers say they'll be talking to mechanics to get the sensors turned off for stage two

Mark Cavendish is assessed by medical staff after crashing on stage one of the Abu Dhabi Tour
(Image credit: Bryn LennonVelo/Tim De Waele/Getty Images)

Abu Dhabi Tour organisers say automatic sensors on the race director's car caused it to brake suddenly, causing the crash of  Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data), who abandoned stage one with concussion.

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."

>>> Alexander Kristoff wins Abu Dhabi Tour stage one after Mark Cavendish crashes out

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."

See more

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.

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Gregor Brown

Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.