pro cycling

Extreme weight loss for cyclists: do NOT try this at home!

It’s gone too far. Back in 2012 ‘marginal gains’ was a bit of fun. A harmless dimply skinsuit here, a weird wobbly set of front forks there, but we’ve reached a tipping point. Crossed the Rubicon. Reached the point of no return.

And other such metaphors for STOP, WHAT IS THIS MADNESS, ARE YOU INSANE!

Let’s rewind: We’ve learnt that Jumbo Visma’s everyman Kiwi George Bennett has been suffering from a ‘stitch’ for several years. So bad that he’s had an operation to remove some of his insides.

Now, first things first, I was under the impression the ‘stitch’ was all but eradicated back in the 1980’s. A short-lived affliction linked to the riding of a Raleigh Chopper whilst drinking bright orange fizzy pop from a glass bottle.

Are we to believe it’s making a comeback? Emerging from within the bowels of a peloton of several dozen of the finest athletes on the planet?

This doesn’t ring true.

I fear Bennett’s ‘stitch’ is a cover story for some kind of secret squirrel power-to-weight boosting shenanigans. It’s in the detail, see.

Check out this tweet:


No, not the veiled reference to George’s attempts to auto-fellate, but the precisely measured weight of the removed cartilage. One hundred of yer metric grams. Suggesting that once you’ve gone all in on the diet, the bike, the riding position, and the kit, there’s one more place to go in search of performance gains.

Body modification.

Removal of unnecessary parts.

Do we have stats, for example, on the percentage of pro cyclists who’ve shed weight through removal of extraneous items such as tonsils? Wisdom teeth? Nipples?

I’m pretty sure skinny Russian Ilnur Zakarin, judging by his posture and general instability on the bike, exists on no more than half a skeleton’s worth of bones at most; his claimed sixty-seven kilos on Wikipedia a massive exaggeration.

And what of rumours that a condition of Mark Cavendish’s new contract at Bahrain Merida was the judicious slicing away of sections of his once weighty ego? Have you noticed how balanced and caring he’s been on social media recently?


Or extreme weight loss?

George Bennett and his ‘stitch’ are, I fear, the tip of a weird iceberg.

6 comments on “Extreme weight loss for cyclists: do NOT try this at home!

  1. I am pretty sure only the knee and thigh are required for pedaling so the lower leg could be upgraded to the latest wind tunnel tested carbon design


  2. This is nothing new – Rene Vietto had a septic toe amputated during the 1947 Tour de France and such was belief that the reduced weight aided his climbing abilities that he tried to persuade a younger team-mate to undergo the same operation.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I hate to disabuse you about Ilnur but he can eat anything he likes and doesn’t put on weight. We’re talking burgers, chips and my race winning brownies!

    Liked by 1 person

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