Riders with beards banned from racing for Belgian team

Geschke and McLay not welcome at Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise

Simon Geschke on stage 20 of the 2017 Tour de France
(Image credit: Yuzuru Sunada)

We hate to break it to you, Simon Geschke, but your dream of riding for Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise has been scuppered after a sports director banned riders from sporting beards.

Walter Planckaert, a former winner of the Tour of Flanders himself, wrote in Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad that he was banning riders from growing beards as he looked to support "the elegance of cycling" and improve the hygiene of the riders.

>>> 10 of the best beards in cycling

"We are a cycling team, with riders, not motocross riders or rugby players," Planckaert wrote. "The snot and the leftover food in the beard of a rider in the middle of the race is dirty."

Planckaert insists that any rider planning to grow a beard and maintain it in the long term will have no place on the Professional Continental squad, although he will let it slide if riders can't bring themselves to stand in front of the mirror for five minutes to shave in the midst of a hard Classics season.

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Henry Robertshaw began his time at Cycling Weekly working with the tech team, writing reviews, buying guides and appearing in videos advising on how to dress for the seasons. He later moved over to the news team, where his work focused on the professional peloton as well as legislation and provision for cycling. He's since moved his career in a new direction, with a role at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.