Beards are all the rage these days, but before the hipsters took them for their own, cyclists were rocking the face fuzz like razors were out of fashion.
They weren’t out of fashion, of course, because all of these cyclists had legs smoother than a baby’s bottom – somewhat making a mockery of any potential aero savings by having a load of hair on their chin.
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Some of the beards on this list are stylish, some of them are unkempt, some of them are iconic and some of them are just plain ridiculous *cough* Chris Horner *cough*…
Starting with one of the iconic beards of recent times, Sir Bradley Wiggins was a great ambassador for facial hair. Before plumping for the full beard, though, it was his mutton chops that took the world by storm as he rode to victory in the Tour de France.
Once that victory was in the bag, though, Wiggo decided to fill in the gaps on the lower half of his face by growing a lovely beard. He went back to his clean shaven routes for his UCI Hour Record ride in June 2015 but the bushy beard has returned for 2016.
The best thing about Bernie Eisel riding for Team Sky was the fact that he got to ride alongside his beard twin, Wiggins, on a regular basis.
The worst thing about Bernie Eisel riding for Team Sky was that his imperious facial hair showed up Sir Brad’s on a regular basis.
Bernie’s was thicker and longer than Wiggo’s, but the road captain has to lead by example and by not shaving Bernie did just that.
Simon Geschke enjoyed the 2015 Tour de France. Not only because he took an amazing stage win but also because he could get his beard trimmed by a man with an EVEN BETTER ONE!
The German said visiting Hervé in the start village helped him relax. And we all know that being relaxed is key to growing a bitchin’ beard.
When it comes to bitchin’ beards, few come close to the magnificence of the one attached to the face of Australian trailblazer Sean Eadie.
The track star was once asked if his beard was counter-productive for the aerodynamics of a track sprinter. The 2002 sprint world champion replied that he only shaves his legs “because it feels great in bed”.
Geoffrey Soupe’s beard is somewhat of a recent addition to his face, but he’s certainly done well with it.
Apart from Cofidis’s red kit making them stand out quite well in the peloton, Soupe’s facial hair makes him easily recognisable in Nacer Bouhanni’s sprint train.
With a great beard comes great responsibility and Dan Craven wears his abominable snowman beard with pride.
The Namibian has gone for the ‘unkempt traveller’ look and pulls it off excellently well. Unfortunately his beard game wasn’t enough to secure him a ride for Direct Energie in 2016, though.
Chris Horner sported a bit of chin moss back in the day and it looked truly horrendous.
While the hair on top of Tom Boonen‘s head is thinning, the hair on the bottom of his head remains strong.
Boonen’s beard is always well maintained as well, joining up with his sideburns perfectly, which is always a tough thing to master.
Another rider who took pride in his beard, and struggled for hair on the top of his head, was Marco Pantani, who’s goatee is arguably the most famous beard in the sport.
While leading the 1998 Tour de France, Pantani even died his facial hair blonde to match the colour of his yellow jersey.
No story about cycling and beards is complete without a nod to Luca Paolini. He may have confessed to taking cocaine before the Tour de France after getting busted during it, but there’s no denying his beard growing skills.