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Tour de France competitor Bartosz Huzarski defends prominent veins after posting picture of legs in 18th stage

The Polish NetApp-Endura rider posted a picture of his legs on social media

Tour de France competitor Bartosz Huzarski’s legs have highlighted the gruelling nature of the race, after he posted a picture on Facebook showing extremely prominent veins stretching from his feet and all the way up his legs.

The Polish NetApp-Endura rider took the snap shortly after finishing the 18th stage of the Tour on Thursday, sparking shocked reactions across social media.

The widespread attention the picture attracted saw Mr Huzarski dismissing claims his legs were "unhealthy" or "unnatural". The 33-year-old wrote on Facebook: “I did not expect that picture of my legs would cause the confusion it did.

“For me it’s totally not a revelation, because I can see this view - maybe not everyday – but still often, especially after a hard race at high temperature.

“People write and think different things, “that is impossible”, “that is not normal”, “it is unhealthy”, refer to doping, etc.

"Of course I will not have legs like Victoria’s Secret models, or Mary from the nearby vegetable shop, or anyone working in an office who does a 10km bike ride or an hour run three times a week.

"This, what you see in the picture below [sic], is not unhealthy.”

Reddit users were also quick to try and explain the picture, saying prominent veins, known as vascularity, are normal among racers who compete for long distances, as surface veins dilate after exertion as they carry blood back up to the heart.

This causes the veins to fill with blood and protrude once the exertion stops and a person stands up.

The Tour concludes with the final stage of the race tomorrow, with Italian Vincenzo Nibali the favourite to win first place on the podium.