Pawel Poljanski may spend his days working hard as a largely unseen domestique for his Bora-Hansgrohe team at the 2017 Tour de France, but he found fame on Tuesday after posting a photograph of his legs online.
The Polish pro snapped a photograph of his veined legs and posted it on Instagram, saying “After sixteen stages I think my legs look little tired“.
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The photo was soon being shared all over social media, with a predictably wide variety of responses from disgust to admiration.
“One paper cut and you’re dead,” joked one user.
“Can’t make out if it’s legs or a roadmap?” said another.
“Wow that’s dedication. Looks painful. Keep going, I have been watching every night. Awesome work guys,” was one more supportive remark.
Others were more concerned with his tan lines: “What’s worse, those legs or your farmer tan?”
Poljanski is not alone among professional cyclists in having prominent veins in their legs, a by-product of a vascular system that has to deal with the effort of racing for four to six hours, or more, a day.
Canadian pro rider Antoine Duchesne posted a similar photo of his legs prior to the 2017 Tour, although he was ultimately not selected to ride in the race by his French Direct Energie team.
And in 2014, Polish rider Bartosz Huzarksi caused a similar stir on social media by posting a photo of his veined legs after after stage 18 of that year’s Tour.
Poljanski and his legs now face a tough challenge at the 2017 Tour, with two gruelling mountain stages in the Alps.
The 27-year-old currently lies in 75th place overall, just under two hours adrift of Froome. That makes him the second-placed in his team on general classification after German Emanuel Buchmann in 16th.
The Bora-Hansgrohe team had largely built itself around the points classification aims of world champion Peter Sagan, but had to refocus after Sagan was disqualified on stage four as a result of an incident with Mark Cavendish in the bunch sprint.
The 2017 Tour de France concludes in Paris on Sunday, July 23.