The Hell of the North has claimed its first victim.
Even before the deadly and much feared Forest of Arenberg or the Carrefour de L’Arbre, before even the first of 27 sections of cobblestones, Paris Roubaix has taken out a rider.
It wasn’t the stones, the mud, dust or crosswinds, it was the soapy water.
Saxo Bank’s Michael Mørkøv slipped on soapy water from the team’s overflowing washing machine and crashed. Early reports are that he broke his shoulder.
“It was a really unlucky crash and of course, I’m very unhappy right now,” Mørkøv said on the team’s website.
“I was just going out for a quick spin. When I crossed some sewage from our truck, my front wheel just slipped, and I crashed down on my shoulder. I did do our training ride afterwards, but back at the hotel I knew something was wrong.”
Even the hardest of hardmen know that when it comes to Paris-Roubaix, disaster lurks around every corner. One year it’s rain and mud, the next slippery soap from a malfunctioning washing machine crammed with too many Saxo bank bib shorts.
“I got some treatments, but it didn’t help me. We fear that I have some kind of fracture in my shoulder, so late last night it was decided that I wouldn’t ride.”
Mørkøv now enters the storied history of the Queen of the Classics. Another victim of perhaps the toughest one day race of them all. Many are the misfortunes of those who seek victory on the cobblestones. You can now add a washing machine to the obstacle list.