Tour de France rider Pawel Poljanski has revealed a stark image of his legs as he competes in the world’s biggest annual sporting event.
The 27-year-old posted an image of his ravaged limbs to Instagram, revealing them to be a network of bulging veins and a mix of both pallid and burned skin.
The Pole, who rides for Bora-Hansgrohe, wrote: “After 16 stages I think my legs look a little tired.”
Poljanski had just completed the 16th leg of the 21-stage event and is currently 75th in the general classification.
In 2014 Polish cyclist Bartosz Huzarski posted a similar image of his own legs after the 18th stage of the Tour de France. American George Hincapie’s varicose veins also stole column inches in 2011.
Vascular surgeon Eddie Chaloner explained to fitness blogger Fiona Outdoors that the veiny appearance of the limbs can be normal for an endurance athlete.
He said: “At rest, about one litre of blood goes up in the veins of the leg every minute. During intense exercise in elite athletes, this can increase more than ten-fold, making all the veins in the leg swell to accommodate the increased volume.
“The superficial veins, which you normally can’t see, get dilated to cope with the excess demand and swell massively. Plus, of course these guys have less than five per cent body fat, so you can see all their veins even at rest.”