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.
“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.
Could it be possible that cut on Doull's shoe was caused by rusty barrier leg? Seems to be rust-coloured mark either side of shoe cut 1/2 pic.twitter.com/Os7x54YSHy
— Nigel Wynn (@NigelWynn) February 23, 2017
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.”
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.
— Chris Froome (@chrisfroome) February 23, 2017
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.