Professional cycling’s latest scandal: unshaved legs

World road race champion Peter Sagan surprised the rest of the peloton by going au naturel on the road. Is it truly disrespectful to fellow riders to be a hairy biker?

Its fair to say that amid the sometimes over-serious world of professional bike ride, Peter Sagan already stands out as a little bit flamboyant.

For his wedding last year, the 26 -year-old Slovakian wore a gold trimmed tunic, arrived in a Trabant automobile and at one point ride a miniature penny farthing across a tightrope. When he was crowned world road race champ he briefly opted for a flashy, all-white ensemble to complement the rainbow stripes which come with the title.

But all this nothing to Sagans latest move: he has begun the 2016 racing season with unshaved legs. Yes, legs with lots of hair on them. Thats legs like those of an ordinary human, albeit uncommonly lithe and muscular ones.

The Cyclingtips website has dedicated about 1,000 words to this seismic event, including several hypothesis as to why, such as to better insulate him amid the currently chilly temperatures of the Tirreno-Adriatico race, a superstition before he wins his first stage of 2016, or just because hes Peter Sagan and he does whatever the hell he likes.

The article also rounds up some fantastic responses from fellow riders on the pro peloton( Taylor Phinney, BMC Racing: I fully support Peter in doing whatever he wants with his body hair .)

The Irish former Tour de France winner Stephen Roche was less understanding, calling it a poor instance: Hes wearing the world champs jersey, and he owes it to be respectful and to be clean and presentable.

Its a rare phenomenon for a male celebrity, enduring close-up photographic scrutiny of unexpected body hair, unlike for their female equivalents.

Why do pro cyclists( and many of their more keen amateur equivalents) even shave their legs? The official explains are that it constructs the daily leg massages received by professionals easier to administer, and it helps speed up mending if you graze your legs in a accident. The British Cycling website also expressed the view that recent breeze passageway testing has also shown a marginal aerodynamic gain, a benefit long claimed but previously never proven.

And what of the owner of the hirsute pins himself? Sagan proved himself a step ahead again. As yet more inclement climate at the Tirreno-Adriatico, forcing a stage to be cancelled, Sagan tweeted a photo of his legs encased in a creamy unguent: Happy that #TirrenoAdriatico has cancelled the stage today, because of snowfall, he wrote. I ultimately have time to shave my legs.

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