Craven cites fuzzy reasoning for Sport Vlaanderen’s beard ban

As the owner/operator of one of the more recognisable beards in pro cycling, Israel Cycling Academy‘s Dan Craven could be expected to have a strong opinion about the recent news that Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise director Walter Planckaert banned facial hair from his team.

“I’m taking this measure for the elegance of cycling,” Planckaert explained to Het Nieuwsblad in announcing his decision. “We’re a cycling team with riders, not motocross riders or rugby players. Snot and food leftovers in the beard of a rider in action, it’s nasty.”

In instituting the ban, Planckaert suggested that a little five o’clock shadow would still be allowed, but any rider opposed to the prohibition on full beards would need to find another team.


Craven, who has sported a full beard at least as far back as his days with Rapha Condor in 2011, obviously took exception to Planckaert’s taking exception to bearded riders.

“There are more important things in the cycling world than banning beards because of what they look like,” the 34-year-old former Namibian champion told Cyclingnews‘ Stephen Farrand after Thursday’s finish of Coppa Sabatini.

“I mean, if that’s the thing you think is important, then I think that’s a problem. I mean, f*ck it, if you don’t like beards, you don’t like beards, but to actually go so far as to make a rule about it, then you’re kind of fooling yourself and ignoring bigger problems.”

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