Dubai Tour: Stage 4 Cancelled Due to Extreme Weather
Race officials at the Dubai Tour announced the complete cancellation of Stage 4 as result of the weather conditions
Following an initial decision to shorten the stage due to the heavy wind in Hatta, the race later announced that it had decided to remove the stage from the schedule altogether.
"Based on the poor current weather conditions in Hatta, and the forecast for further deterioration later, the Race Management, in agreement with the Commissaires Panel, have applied the UCI's Extreme Weather Protocol and have cancelled today's Stage 4 of the Dubai Tour," it said in a statement.
Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb were among the riders praising the decision to cancel stage four of the Dubai Tour due to high winds.
As a result, the race's final standings will be decided in Saturday's fifth and final stage which takes place on a local circuit in the city of Dubai.
VIDEO: Stage 3: Riders Battered by Sand Storm in Dubai
Stage 3 of the Dubai Tour descended into chaos as the peloton and support teams were battered by fierce winds whipping up a full-on sand storm
Scene's from today's stage emulated parts of the film, the Mummy.
Several teams have posted dramatic footage showing riders and support staff in unimaginable choking conditions.
The sandstorm split the peloton into pieces with echelons of riders scattered all over the roads and team support cars doing their best to protect riders by sheltering them from the sandstorm.
Several support staff can be seen being rescued from the side of the road choking from the affects of the storm.
It's not 100% clear what happened in the peloton, but it's reported that race leader Marcel Kittel (Quick Step Floors) and John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) were amongst those who were split off the front of the field.
Due to the chaos, the race was neutralised following a number of crashes and the peloton came back together.
It was after the peloton re-grouped that it became clear that Marcel Kittel had been elbowed in the face by an Astana rider.
VIDEO: Marcel Kittel elbowed in the face by Astana rider Andrei Grivko
Kittel left with a deep cut and bloody face after altercation midway through Stage 3 of the Dubai Tour
Quick-Step Floors team manager Patrick Lefevere has stated that Kittel was “beaten by an Astana rider” on the chaotic stage 3 of the Dubai Tour today.
High cross winds and sandstorms affected the stage, which saw the peloton split andK ittel losing contact with the front of the race.
The echelon packs fought hard to bridge back up to the front of the peloton. It was at this point we got to see the extent of Kittel's injury.
Kittel was seen looking very distressed at the back of the peloton, clearly unhappy, making gestures to the race officials that he had been elbowed in the face.
It isn't the first time Astana have been acccused of causing a dispute that lead to violence in the peloton, in 2015 Dmitry Gruzdev reportly started a braul mid way through a stage.
More on this incident soon, as surely there will be an official complaint made by QuickStep-Floors to the race officials.
After the stage Andrei Grivko from Astana was subsequently disqualified from race.