Pawel Poljanski has demonstrated physical toll of riding the Tour de France in a gruesome Instagram post.The Polish rider, a domestique for German team Bora-Hansgrohe, posted a snap of his incredibly vascular legs after conclusion of stage 16 and it wasn’t a pretty sight.It showed veins popping through skin and as Poljanski put it in the caption: ‘After sixteen stages I think my legs look little tired’.
But why do cyclists’ legs get so veiny will be question many people will be asking?According to medical experts, it’s to do with massive amount of blood that flows through the legs of elite cyclists during the vigorous exercise of an event as physically demanding as the Tour de France.The large amounts of blood stay in legs throughout a long race then pool in the veins, causing them to bulge.
Dr Bradley Launikonis from University of Queensland’s School of Biomedical Science said elite cyclists experienced double the blood flow to their legs compared to recreational exercisers. ‘After he’s finished exercising, veins are showing up,’ explained Dr Bradley Launikonis from the University of Queensland’s School of Biomedical Science of Poljanski’s legs. ‘Blood flow is pressurised through arteries in a highly regulated fashion.
‘There’s a high level of blood being pushed into his legs for long periods of time, and it’s still in there post-exercise.’It’s not going to happen to someone who’s doing recreational exercise. It’s clearly something that’s only going to happen in elite athletes, like these guys riding in massive cycling events.’
Poljanski is not first rider to reveal the physical impact on the legs of such gruelling physical competition.Chris Froomer and Bartosz Huzarski were both pictured during 2014 Tour with post-race bulging veins.Huzarski even had to defend himself against accusations of doping.’For me it’s totally not a revelation, because I can see this view maybe not everyday but still often, especially after a hard race at high temperature,’ Huzarski told on his Facebook page at the time.’People write and think different things, “that is impossible”, “that is not normal”, “it is unhealthy”, refer to doping, etc.’Of course I will not have legs like Victoria’s Secret models, or Mary from nearby vegetable shop, or anyone working in an office who does a 10km bike ride or an hour run three times a week.
Tuesday was a tough one on road for Poljanski. From the off, he and team-mate Marcus Burghardt made attempts to go away in break. But with threat of crosswinds later in the stage the peloton quickly worked to pull them back in. Eventually the 27 year’s old came in 65th on the stage, 1min 43secs behind winner Michael Matthews.Bora-Hansgrohe’s Tour changed dramatically when world champion and team leader Peter Sagan was thrown out of the race after being judged to have caused a crash in sprint finish on stage four.
With Bora set-up to provide a platform for Sagan to chase a sixth consecutive green jersey they were left reeling by their star man’s elimination.Having come into tour also boasting a twin threat with Rafal Majka going for the general classification, Bora were hit again when he withdrew following a crash on stage nine.Majka hit deck on the descent of the Col de la Biche, bringing down a number of other riders including Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas.Pole told he couldn’t consider continue with the Tour despite finishing that stage.’I have pain everywhere today, but I was lucky to have no fractures at all,’ Majka told.