With rumours surrounding the mystical powers of Bradley Wiggins’ side burns and how they may have helped him to victory at the Tour de France, we started to explore the possibilities of the Samson effect within the elite ranks of cycling. Are cyclists who grow their hair able to benefit from super human strength similar to the story in the bible, or are they just inconvenienced by their long locks? We take a look at some of the more outrageous hairdos to grace the world of cycling.
I’m not quite sure of the aerodynamics of a mullet but they seem to pop up in cycling every now and again. To say the business at the front, party at the back look is a timeless classic would be a lie. The 1997 world champion was rocking a mullet when he won the world champs stripes. He was more famously associated with the 1998 Festina scandal for the possession of illegal drugs, so it may not have been his luscious locks that won him the world champs jersey…
As the Australian turn pro in the 80s, he will have been exposed to a variety of barnets. After a selection of fairly mundane haircuts early in his career, Anderson opted for an iconic look which he sported for much of the latter part of his career. Despite being the first non European rider to wear the famous yellow jersey during the Tour de France, the Aussie ripper also boasts some of the most luscious mulleted locks to have ever grace the peloton.
You’d be forgiven in thinking that track cyclist, Shane Archbold, was a result of the 80s hair movement. However, the Kiwi born rider is only 23 and sporting a hair do that either riders above would be proud of. Shane rides for Ethiopian Continental team Marco Polo Cycling-Donckers Koffie (try saying that after a few beers) and represented New Zealand in the Omnium at London 2012. He has been quoted as saying that the favourite thing about his mullet is the fact that he can flip it in the wind…
The retired Italian sprinter has sported various styles over the last few years. These days you’ll see Cipo sporting a slicked back number using copious amounts of look gel, but his greatest hair accomplishment was during his days at Team GB-MG when he sported this spectacular perm piece. This mane of hair gave him the knickname Lion King.
Probably one of the most outrageous hair don’ts of recent years is Vladimir Karpets Euro mullet. The Russain rider’s biggest win to date was the white jersey for best young rider in the 2004 Tour de France. he has also made two appearances at the Olympics in 2000 and 2004. Vladimir has always had longish hair but in he last couple of years the Russain has sculpted his hair into the best example of a Euro mullet that we have ever seen!
Sean may not have sported long locks during his racing days, but he did have a thick layer of hair on his face which Bjarne Riis could put to good use. The Australian track cyclist had a decade long career on the boards which saw him win the Sprint world championship in 2002 along with multiple National titles. In an interview with cyclingnews.com’s Lucy Power, he was asked if it was counter aerodynamic to shave his legs but not his face. He said he had “won the team sprint and went 10.14 in Manchester, won the world’s – wasn’t too counter productive!”.
So there you have our pick of riders who have benefited from the Samson effect. But of course there are many riders out there who don’t possess as much hair on top and are still a formidable force on the bike. What is your favourite hair style for riding? Do you think a mullet has supernatural powers when it comes to cycling? As usual let us know in the comments section below.