From supermarket trolleys to virtual snowboards, the real world can be a dangerous place for pro riders
After Luke Rowe broke his leg by jumping out of a boat while whitewater rafting on his brother’s stag party, we got thinking about some of the other strange non-cycling injuries that have hit professional riders over the years.
1. Nacer Bouhanni’s pre-Tour punch up
With his well-known boxing past, Nacer Bouhanni still likes to step into the ring to keep his fitness up during the off-season, but for some reason decided to put his skills to good use in a fight with drunken hotel guests on the eve of the 2016 French National Championships, and just a week before the Tour de France.
Unfortunately for the Cofidis sprinter, he came out worse from the little altercation, breaking his hand and needing surgery after the 4am bust-up, putting him out of the Tour.
2. Yves Lampaert’s Lidl accident
Going into his second season with Etixx-Quick Step, Yves Lampaert was looking forward to taking on the full complement of the northern Classics in 2016, something that was ruined while doing his weekly shop in Lidl.
Perhaps distracted by a great deal on a 15 pack of clothes hangers, Lampaert’s girlfriend rammed the trolley into the back of his leg, causing an inflamed Achilles tendon that would put him out for the whole of April.
3. Ed Clancy’s heavy luggage
The first man in the British team pursuit suffered a slipped disc in his back that put him out for a number of months and eventually required surgery to put right. Thankfully the story had a happy ending, with Clancy taking gold as part of the team pursuit.
4. Greg LeMond’s shooting accident
By far the most serious accident on this list, Greg LeMond almost lost his life after being accidentally shot by his brother-in-law while on a turkey hunting trip in California in the build-up to the 1987 season.
LeMond lost 65 per cent of his blood and came within 20 minutes of bleeding to death before receiving life-saving emergency surgery. Remarkably, and still with 35 shotgun pellets in his body including three in the lining of his heart, LeMond return to top-level cycling to win the Tour de France just two years later.
5. David Millar’s low slung beam
If you’re ever sitting next to David Millar on a train and he’s stinking out the whole carriage with an egg sandwich, try to bare in mind that he won’t know how much it reeks after he lost his sense of smell while walking around a hotel in 2013.
Working as a consultant on The Program (a film about Lance Armstrong), Millar walked into a low beam while looking at his phone, knocking himself out in the process. Thankfully losing his sense of smell was the worst of his injuries, with Millar joking that that was Armstrong’s choice of revenge for him working on the film.
6. Mark Cavendish’s Wii setback
After taking the cycling world by storm in 2008 by winning four Tour de France stages, Mark Cavendish had earned a bit of downtime during the off season, which obviously included some virtual snowboarding on his Nintendo Wii.
Unfortunately Cavendish wasn’t quite as assured on a virtual snowboard as he was on a bike, falling in his living room and injuring his calf muscle in the process. Thankfully this took place in November, and didn’t stop Cav taking six more Tour stages the following summer.
We’re far from infallible, so let us know in the comments below about any unusual injuries that we’ve missed.