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Race car's automatic braking system sensors caused Cavendish crash, Abu Dhabi Tour organisers admit

Tour director Stefano Allocchio plans to speak to Dimension Data rider and team management this evening

The crash in the neutralised zone of the Abu Dhabi Tour that resulted in Mark Cavendish having to abandon today’s opening stage was caused by automatic brake sensors in the race director’s car, organisers have confirmed.

The 32-year-old sprinter sustained concussion and a whiplash injury in the crash, which happened after the car suddenly slowed, causing riders behind to brake.

> UPDATED: Video: Mark Cavendish abandons Abu Dhabi Tour after suffering concussion in neutral zone crash

The event is organised by RCS Sport – owners of the Giro d’Italia and Milan-San Remo among other races – with Mercedes providing the official vehicles.

Although Cavendish remounted his bike, he abandoned 5 kilometres into the stage and was taken to hospital for tests amid concern he may have damaged the shoulder he broke in a crash at last year’s Tour de France.

Following today’s opening stage, won by Katusha’s Alexander Kristoff, race director Stefano Allocchio said that riders were close to the car, which “has those sensors that caused it to brake. And it braked.

“Unfortunately, it’s one of these things,” he continued. “Tonight, we will talk to a mechanics to make sure they are deactivated. We don’t [want] to risk this happening again.”

He added that he intends to speak to Cavendish and Dimension Data’s management about the incident.

“We will see tonight,” he explained. “We are going to go find Cav and have a talk.”

According to a tweet from Cycling Tips journalist Caley Fretz, race vehicles at last month’s Santos Tour Down Under equipped with similar automatic braking systems had a warning reminding drivers to disengage the technology.



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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