Today my legs are shorn for the first time in 2006. Yes you heard right! When it's warm enough to shed the long tights and leg warmers, bare legs are an inevitability. Cyclists, at least professional and serious amateurs like myself, prefer smooth skin over hair. Depilation is favored for a number of reasons, and you might find yourself surprised:
- Massage: Professionals especially, cannot benefit from the deft fingers of their team soiniuers (sp?) with legs covered in hair- this is a no brainer
- Crash injury and recovery from same: When a cyclist hits the asphalt, there is going to be some abrasion- road rash- if you will. Well when the legs are covered in hair, the potential for a tear in the skin is very high, whereas shaved legs will simply lose some skin. It's the difference between needing stitches at the hospital and simply applying clean gauze. Needless to say, it's far easier to dress the wound when skin is bare.
- Aesthetics and peer pressure: Most cyclists agree- legs that are hair free look more athletic, more muscular. In a sport where 80% of the battle is mental, seeing your legs the same way that the pros do is an advantage. Besides, no self-respecting pro or amateur will line up at the start of a race with hairy legs- hence the peer pressure aspect.
- Wind resistance? That one's a myth.
1. Alejandro Valverde (Sp), Caisse d'Épargne-Illes Balears, 262km in 6:21:32 (41.202 kph)
2. Paolo Bettini (I), Quick Step-Innergetic
3. Damiano Cunego (I), Lampre-Fondital
4. Patrik Sinkewitz (G), T-Mobile
5. Michael Boogerd (Nl), Rabobank
6. Miguel Martin Perdiguero (Sp), Phonak
7. Frank Schleck (Lux), CSC
8. Chris Horner (USA), Davitamon, all s.t.
9. Danilo Di Luca (I), Liquigas, at 0:04
10. Ivan Basso (I), CSC, at 0:07.