If you were ever in any doubt of how tough cycling is then check out this picture from Polish rider Pawel Poljański.
The 27-year-old is currently competing in the Tour de France and decided to give his fans an insight into what his body goes through during the punishing 3,5000 kilometers race by sharing a photo of his heavily swollen legs to Instagram.
He captioned the shocking picture, which showed his incredibly veins and bruised legs after 16 days of racing: “After sixteen stages I think my legs look little tired”
At least he’s still got his sense of humor.
By this point the athlete had racked up 70 hours, 13 minutes and 50 seconds and with only two days rest. With five more stages to go, let’s home his legs can handle it.
The legs swelling is something that happens to nearly all the riders during the competition and is down to the extreme conditions they put their body through.
Dr Bradley Launikonis from the University of Queensland’s School of Biomedical Science told ABC: “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.
“One of these elite cyclists will have double that, about 40 litres per minute. They have massive volumes of blood moving through. After he’s finished exercising, the veins are showing up. Blood flow is pressurized through the arteries in a highly regulated fashion. What we’re seeing [through the skin] are the veins, and there’s a lot less pressure in them [than arteries].
“There’s a high level of blood being pushed into his legs for long periods of time, and it’s still in there post-exercise.”
It’s not the first time a Tour de France athlete has shared pictures of their swollen during the punishing race.
British cyclist and previous winner Chris Froome did the same in 2014.
— Team Sky ? (@TeamSky) April 23, 2014