This is Paweł Poljański, a Polish cyclist who is currently 16 stages into the Tour de France. I do not know the man, I have never met him, I have never even spoken to him, but he is, I feel totally confident in saying, extremely tired right now.
Since the start of the month he has cycles more than 2,000 kilometres. Two thousand. That’s roughly the same as cycling from London to Edinburgh, then back to London, then back to Edinburgh, then back to London, then back to Edinburgh again.
You’d think, reasonably, that this much cycling would take a toll on your legs. And you would be right. Paweł shared a snap of his tired, tired pins on Instagram and it is… quite something.
A post shared by Paweł Poljański (@p.poljanski) on
Those veins are bigger than some of my actual muscles. I reckon at least 70% of that man’s blood is all down in his legs right now. And look how tanned his knees are. His skin is so dry and sun-battered it looks like leather. This man is a hero.
“After sixteen stages I think my legs look little tired”, Paweł said in the caption of his photo. Yeah, no fucking shit mate. They look like they’re made of tree. Someone get the guy some Deep Heat and a massage.
Poljański, who rides for Bora–Hansgrohe, is currently 75th overall in the Tour after he finished 16th stage between Le Puy-en-Velay and Romans-sur-Isere. There are five stages remaining, with the Tour coming to a close on the 23rd in Paris.
Britain’s Chris Froome is currently in in possession of the yellow jacket, as he seeks his fourth Tour de France title. Back in 2014 Team Sky shared a photo of Froome’s legs during the tour, though they are absolutely nothing on the Pole’s.
Dr Bradley Launikonis, from the University of Queensland's School of Biomedical Science, told ABC what happens to a person’s legs during long-distance cycling.
"The amount of blood that we get normally going down to our legs is five litres per minute, for anyone at rest. For an untrained athlete, their maximum exercise will have 20 litres per minute flowing through the muscles," he said.
"One of these elite cyclists will have double that, about 40 litres per minute. They have massive volumes of blood moving through.
"The blood can pool there and that's what's happening in this extreme case. There is blood pooling in his veins which is why you're seeing them (so visibly)."
Fair play, Paweł, you’re a beast. Good luck on the rest of the Tour. I hop your legs don’t explode.