A rider’s soigneur will provide many services, but trying to get a stylish haircut off your masseuse will likely end in a lot of disappointment and ribbing from your teammates.
Luckily, the riders at the Tour de France don’t have to lose precious sleep over the state of their hair thanks to the free barber’s shop in the start village before each stage.
Resident coiffeur Hervé Boibessot is rated as one of the best in France by GQ magazine and is certainly living up to his reputation, according to the riders.
“I wanted to do the Tour because he’s here!” said Simon Geschke, owner of one of the most famous beards in cycling, after his second visit of the Tour. “There are a lot of pictures taken at the Tour, so I really take care of my beard here; at home I don’t shave that often.”
With the team buses usually arriving about 90 minutes before the race departs, booking an appointment with Hervé is vital if you want to look your best on your bike.
As the race has moved to the sunnier climes of Southern France after a wet and windy first week further north, fewer riders are inclined to leave their air-conditioned buses to pedal to the rider’s village.
But Hervé’s schedule remains packed, with rider after rider keen to get their short-back-and-sides tidied or their facial-hair trimmed meaning the Toulousain is kept on his toes.
“It feels a lot cooler after having my hair cut,” said Cannondale-Garmin’s Nathan Haas before stage 14, where temperatures reached 34 degrees by midday.
“I got my beard trimmed a few days ago, but being a three-week race it grew out again, so I had to book another appointment.
“It’s super important to relax like this before a stage, but on a day like today it would have been better to stay in the bus and keep your core temperature down. But it’s nice to have this treatment before a race – it feels good”
As a former competitive amateur cyclist himself, Hervé certainly knows what a rider needs before a race, and the bearded members of the peloton can find great comfort in the fact the barber himself has perfectly manicured facial hair.
Tour of Britain winner Dylan Van Baarle left Hervé’s salon clean shaven before Friday’s stage 13, although the fresh-faced 23-year-old Dutchman barely looks old enough to be shaving.
“Hervé was really good – now I don’t have to worry about doing it myself,” he said. “It’s not that I don’t want to shave myself, but it’s nice to get this treatment before the race and relax in the chair.”
So if you see an unkempt rider during this Tour de France it must be through choice rather than lack of grooming facilities.
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