A photo posted by cyclist Bartosz Huzarski on his Facebook page after finishing stage 18 of the Tour de France has caused many of his fans to question if Huzarski is using performance-enhancing drugs.
The concerns about doping arose from the bulging veins visible on his legs in the photo Huzarski posted on July 24. But the 33-year-old NetApp-Endura rider quickly took to his page to knock down the allegations, telling his followers he simply wanted to show the stress the race puts on his body and that the photo does not show anything “unhealthy.”
“I did not expect that picture of my legs would cause the confusion it did," he said in a follow-up post on Facebook. “For me it’s totally not a revelation, because I can see this view – maybe not every day – but still often, especially after a hard race at high temperature.”
He added, “Of course I will not have legs like Victoria’s Secret models, or Mary from a nearby vegetable shop, or anyone working in an office who does a 10km bike ride or an hour run three times a week. Unfortunately it does not work like that and this what you see in the picture. It is not unhealthy.”
Metro reports that several Reddit users also came to his defense, explaining that veins at the surface of the legs dilate as they move blood back to the heart following an intense physical activity like cycling. They added that Huzarski taking the picture standing up intensified the condition, as gravity causes the veins to pool with blood.
The Tour de France ended on Sunday, with Italian Vincenzo Nibali winning the race. He was the first Italian winner of cycling's greatest race in 16 years and he won four stages of this year’s event, a feat no other rider has done in a decade.