Rider representative Adam Hansen doubts whether the cut to Owain Doull's shoe could have been caused by race barriers
Hansen said that he will be interested to see which bike Kittel chooses to use on stage two, saying that if he himself was in the same situation then he would use a bike with rim brakes, even if it is yet to be proven that a disc brake rotor did indeed cause Doull’s injuries.
“I wonder how Kittel feels about it, and I don’t want to pick on him, but how does he feel about a rider blaming him for it?” Hansen, the Professional Cyclists Association (CPA) union representative in the Abu Dhabi Tour, told Cycling Weekly.
“I wonder what bike he will ride next time? To me, it would show much more than anything else if he used rim brakes. He has a choice.
“If that happened to me, I would not be riding disc brakes. I wouldn’t want other people in that type of risk.”
That is advice that Kittel has decided to heed, with the German choosing to start the second stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour on a rim brake bike.
Watch: what do pro riders really think of disc brakes?
Some questioned whether a rotor cut Doull’s foot, and after the Emirati dust settled at the finish of stage one, won by Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data), videos and photographs began to fly around the internet.
Hansen discussed whether Doull’s injuries could have been caused by the leg of a rusty barrier surrounding the flamme rouge which the riders appeared to collide with in the crash.
The Australian said that in his opinion it was difficult to see a barrier causing the cuts the Doull’s shoe and foot.
“It went through two layers of his shoe, the inner layer and leather. If was a jersey or shorts, that would’ve been bad.
“It is a clean cut, but no barrier I’ve looked at had something that could cut like that. It could seriously harm you and you could break bones on it, but to cut leather? No.”
“When there is a crash, bikes get thrown around, it is not that they just go A to B. They bounce off of riders or walls, so it’s really hard to determine that it was not the disc. It looks like there was a crash, there was disc brakes involved and there’s a pretty clean cut on a rider.”
The UCI allowed cyclists and teams to use disc brakes for 2017 despite some concerns and a crash last year in Paris-Roubaix, where Francisco Ventoso alleged that an injury to his leg had been caused by a disc brake rotor.
Quick-Step Floors led the way into 2017. Tom Boonen became the first professional to win on disc brakes in the Tour de San Juan and said that he will use them until he retires this spring following Paris-Roubaix.
The CPA said that the UCI is not listening to the riders’ feedback. It conducted a poll and Hansen said showed 40 per cent of professional riders are completely against using disc brakes, 40 per cent are against them until better safety measures are adopted, and 16% want to keep using them.
“I can’t speak for the other teams, but I’ve heard that there is some pressure from some teams, or more the sponsors, to use disc brakes. We are lucky with Campagnolo – Campagnolo and Ridley give us the choice. There is no pressure at all,” added Hansen.
“We want the lightest bikes possible. Disc brakes add a lot of weight, around a kilogram. It just seems strange to me that riders want the lightest bikes, and disc brakes are the opposite of that.
“Yes, training by yourself in the wet, they are better, but I imagine that no rider would want to be in a crash with bikes having discs.”
The CPA and UCI continue to send letters back and forth while the riders continue to race, mostly using caliper brakes, in the Abu Dhabi Tour. Hansen has riders approaching him often complaining about the discs, but said that they will not strike. Instead, he trusts that the union’s muscle will bring a fast solution.