What’s the secret to going faster in a bike race?
That’s according to the support staff behind team GB’s female cyclists, who had the wonderful job of telling the Olympians they needed to stop getting bikini waxes if they wanted to win.
The reason? Because ridding your body of pubic hair can lead to painful chafing, making for an uncomfortable ride.
Phil Burt, British Cycling’s physiotherapist, told the Guardian: “We had to try to persuade the girls to stop shaving and waxing if we were going to sort out the saddle pain we knew all of them were suffering with.
“At one point we were saying: ‘Should we be buying the girls beard-trimmers?’”
When a person waxes their pubic hair, it can create damage to the outer layer of skin and can increase the likelihood of developing ingrowing hairs or infections.
This issue of hair regrowth, combined with restrictive clothing, sweat and a bike saddle, can make for a pretty uncomfortable time for professional cyclists.
As such, the team were advised against removing pubic hair - whether that’s through waxing, shaving or depilating.
The team was also issued with liquid paraffin moisturiser to treat any tender areas prior to rides.
Pubic hair is thought to prevent skin abrasion and injury, which makes it pretty ideal for reducing friction during high intensity activities like sex - and cycling.
It can also keep out bacteria by trapping any unwanted dirt. As Carlen Costa puts it in a blog post on The Huffington Post Canada: “When we shave, the occasional tiny cuts or open pores make us more susceptible to a bacterial infiltration.
“Think of your muff as the eyebrows to the vulva, the beard of your penis.”
It has also been suggested that pubic hair removal correlates directly with the rise of gonorrhoea, chlamydia and HPV infections.
Combined with team GB’s state-of-the-art bikes, helmets and kits - there’s really no stopping them now.