One of the challenges of being a cycling fan is trying to interpret what’s happening on the road, as seen on our screens. Television commentators will helpfully give us their version of events and we may be assisted by snippets of pre-race interviews with riders and directeur sportifs. We may have read some race previews in the press or on the internet to help our comprehension or add to our confusion. More data doesn’t necessarily equal more information, as everyone weighs in with their penny’s worth. VeloVoices are fortunate to gain some additional insight thanks to updates from Geoffroy Lequatre (Bretagne-Schuller) at this week’s International Presidential Tour of Turkey.
Alejandro will have 32 candles on his birthday cake this year.
After a successful return to professional racing this season [until he was felled by a bidon! – Ed], following 20 months on the naughty step, there was only one question on everyone’s lips: has he, or hasn’t he?
We’re not talking blood bags, pet dogs and EPO here: no, nothing so trivial. The question on everyone’s lips was whether or not Alejandro has had a hair transplant?
As evidence, I proffer the fact that he’s currently co-habiting with a lady he met down the local trichology clinic and these ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos which I think prove quite conclusively that Alejandro is indeed guilty. Or at least I thought so until I saw his photograph in L’Equipe last Thursday, where his hair looked much more like the ‘before’ photograph. So, now, frankly I’m not so sure!
You may be wondering why someone whose head spends the greater part of each and every day hidden by either a helmet or a cap would worry about a receding hairline. It doesn’t seem to bother, say, Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) or Chris Horner (RadioShack). It’s not even going to help him ride faster! But let’s not forget, he’s a good-looking boy in the public eye and we should respect his attempts to retain those Movistar good looks. [Groan – Ed.]
I believe I’ve previously mentioned that I’ve met his Dad and older brother, both of whom are as bald as coots. So, if he has had some treatments, is Alejandro wasting his Movistar money? Will he be able to stave off the inevitable?
Well, maybe! According to recent reports, successful use of stem cell therapy could cure baldness. A Japanese research team have managed to grow hair on the back of a bald lab mouse which could eventually be adapted for use in humans.
The team used stem cell cultivation to create hair follicles from scratch. These follicles were implanted into hairless mice who then grew hairs. The next step is to implant the newly created follicles into a human head in order to win the battle against balding. It’s believed the technique may also allow men to re-grow hair in their original colour, even if they’ve already started to go grey.
The researchers from Tokyo University believe a cure for baldness could be engineered within three years. It will be an expensive treatment, however, and they believe it might be more useful in reconstructive situations where traditional hair transplant operations aren’t possible. But there’s more research to be done, as the team do not yet know if it would be possible to recreate an entire head of hair. In this study, the hairs had to be implanted one at a time, which is fine on a mouse but a rather different proposition on an entire bald head!
I’m going to leave you with Lady GaGa’s birthday homage to Alejandro! [Er, are you sure? – Ed]