Of all the bicycle races organized around the world, the Tour de France is the most coveted and prestigious. Since its first edition held in 1903, the famous multiple stage road bicycle race has been held annually, with the exception of the two World Wars.
The 2017 Tour de France is the 104th edition of the race, which was flagged off with 198 riders in Düsseldorf, Germany on July 1. The 3,540 km long race is currently ongoing with only 4 days till the finish at Paris, France.
You must have seen marvelous pictures of athletes in action with their bodies performing Herculean tasks. But have you ever wondered what happens to the limbs of such athletes underneath the brightly colored sports wear? One such revelation has been made by a Tour de France cyclist, Pawel Poljanski, of the German team Bora-Hansgrohe.
The astonishing picture shared by Poljanski according to him was taken after the 16th stage of the race, i.e. after covering 2829.5 kilometers over a period of 18 days. In the picture, his legs have visibly thick veins popping out and discoloration which appears to be the effect of sun and the heat. The cyclist nonchalantly posted that his legs “ook a little tired”. This definitely makes clear the grueling character of long-distance cycling.
After the conclusion of the 17th stage, Poljanski currently stands at position no. 73 in the general classification. His Polish teammate, Rafał Majka, suffered a crash during the 9th stage of the race and Poljanski has shared a picture of the brave cyclist. Surely, the race is no joke.
In 2014, another picture made news where a Polish Tour de France competitor shared a picture of his legs on Facebook after the 18th stage of the race.
He later cleared the air on reactions of people on social media about the state of his legs being ‘not normal’ and ‘unhealthy’ by stating that:
Of course, I will not have legs like Victoria’s Secret models, or Mary from the nearby vegetable shop, or anyone working in an office who does a 10km bike ride or an hour run three times a week.
Dr. Bradley Launikonis from the University of Queensland’s School of Biomedical Science in an interview explained that the legs of elite cyclists during such a grueling race experience a blood flow of 40 liters per minute which is double the maximum experienced by an average athlete.
It is true that every accolade and achievement comes with a price.