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Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise's Walter Planckaert says he wants to preserve the "elegance" of cycling - so team won't recruit riders with beards...

Walter Planckaert, sports director at Belgian UCI Professional Continental team Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise, has revealed it has a rather unusual recruitment policy – it won’t sign riders with beards.

He told Het Nieuwsblad at the weekend that the decision was based on preserving “the elegance of the sport.”

The 1976 Tour of Flanders winner continued: “We’re cyclists, not motocross riders or rugby players.

“I’ve nothing against motocross, but a rider with a beard doesn’t fit.”

To emphasise his point, he added: “Snot and food stay in a rider’s beard. That’s filthy.”

He told the newspaper that a bit of stubble, such as is sported by Philippe Gilbert or Greg van Avermaet, is fine in his book, but a full beard is not, and that if a rider refused to shave “he has to find another team.”

Besides elegance, however, there is a sound cycling reason for keeping clean shaven if wind tunnel research conducted by Specialized at its headquarters in Morgan Hill, California, is to be believed.

> Video: To beard or not to beard?

So, who needn’t apply for a place on the team – or at least, should make sure they’ve got rid of the facial fluff when they meet Planckaert?

Well, Sir Bradley Wiggins, should he ever decide to come out of retirement, would have to get rid of his beard and – going by this footage of him at the unveiling of a memorial to Tom Simpson earlier this month – also get a short back and sides for good measure.

There’d be no place either for German pro cyclist and Tour de France stage winner Simon Geschke, nor for three-time world champion Peter Sagan or indeed the Namibian rider, Dan Craven, among others.

And should Zimbabwe-born long-distance cyclist Sean Conway ever fancy turning pro, well, that’s one team he needn’t send his CV to …

Sean Conway

Sean Conway

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

22 comments

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don simon [1768 posts] 4 months ago
6 likes

Elegant as fuck.

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wellsprop [723 posts] 4 months ago
2 likes

I wouldn't be surprised if he thinks all bikes should have downtube shifters as in the anti-disc brake club.

Sounds less progressive than the UCI, if that's possible.

Hell, why not go back to single speeds and cotton jerseys.

 

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Grahamd [865 posts] 4 months ago
2 likes
wellsprop wrote:

I wouldn't be surprised if he thinks all bikes should have downtube shifters as in the anti-disc brake club.

Sounds less progressive than the UCI, if that's possible.

Hell, why not go back to single speeds and cotton jerseys.

 

Penny farthing racing ...

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BarryBianchi [419 posts] 4 months ago
8 likes

What a totally ocean-going, copper-bottomed, 24-carat tool.

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reliablemeatloaf [108 posts] 4 months ago
9 likes

My new favorite cycling team.

 

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Another David [29 posts] 4 months ago
7 likes

Good decision.

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burtthebike [1382 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

Well, I'm sure there are plenty of lady cyclists who would agree with this.

But aesthetics aside, isn't it true that hirsute cyclists are less streamlined and therefore slower?  Isn't that why the pros shave their legs?  Now that the gel market has completely captured all those gullible sportive riders, there must be a market opening for for pre-ride razors.  Maybe one for en route too, on the longer rides.  After all, they fell for the helmet nonsense, so they'll buy anything.

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brooksby [2919 posts] 4 months ago
2 likes

Planckaert seems not to understand that (1) beards can be washed ("full of snot and food"? Only if you're a character in a Jethro Tull song!) and (2) if a man has a beard then he can (as a last resort) shave it off...

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alansmurphy [1665 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

Sign contract, grow beard.

Brad's beard on Ventoux wasn't too unkempt, the hair was certainly on its way though  1

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esnifador [53 posts] 4 months ago
6 likes

Good for him. Plus it will work wonders in team time trials.

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JonD [494 posts] 4 months ago
1 like
brooksby wrote:

Planckaert seems not to understand that (1) beards can be washed ("full of snot and food"? Only if you're a character in a Jethro Tull song!) and (2) if a man has a beard then he can (as a last resort) shave it off...

 

TBH my beard gets more tlc that my hair does, and both are long..'cept the former turns into wirey pubes without a bit of leave-in conditioner..screw this beard oil poncy rubbish  4

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Yorkshire wallet [1704 posts] 4 months ago
11 likes

Teams need to enforce rules on socks. No long socks please.

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CXR94Di2 [1960 posts] 4 months ago
5 likes

Beardy discrimination fascist  4

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Rapha Nadal [746 posts] 4 months ago
4 likes

What an odd stance to take.

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peted76 [894 posts] 4 months ago
4 likes

I think it's a good thing in this world of watching your p's and q's for someone to actually have an opinion and go so far as to enforce it. Wouldn't it be a boring world if we all 'had to just accept everything' all the time.. don't like beards, ban em. Not keen on sideburns, banned. Quite dislike minty showergel, it's gone and whoever buys it by accident on the next trip gets docked a weeks wages.

 

 

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Edgeley [523 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

What a funny sport.  Men shave their legs.  This bloke bans beards.  Lady riders are told to grow their pubes.   The male world champion has a beard (of sorts).

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alansmurphy [1665 posts] 4 months ago
4 likes
burtthebike wrote:

After all, they fell for the helmet nonsense, so they'll buy anything.

Wow, even in a fucking beard debate!!!

Does your helmet not have a beard?

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Rapha Nadal [746 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

peted76 wrote:

I think it's a good thing in this world of watching your p's and q's for someone to actually have an opinion and go so far as to enforce it. Wouldn't it be a boring world if we all 'had to just accept everything' all the time.. don't like beards, ban em. Not keen on sideburns, banned. Quite dislike minty showergel, it's gone and whoever buys it by accident on the next trip gets docked a weeks wages.

Will the title of Directeur Sportif now be amended to Dictator Sportif?

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Bmblbzzz [175 posts] 4 months ago
2 likes

And I bet he makes the whole team wear the same shirt as well! Oh, hang on... 

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barbarus [521 posts] 4 months ago
2 likes

Finally someone prepared to speak out on the big issues facing our sport.

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Duncann [1214 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

Fine if for provable performance reasons but openly banning recruitment of people based personal opinions of their appearance...? I wonder what Belgian employment and equalities law has to say about that.

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Simboid [119 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

Saw a beardy rider at the cafe stop the other day with shaved legs!

Erm, why?