Happy birthday Maxim Iglinskiy: Mullet man

Last year’s winner of Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Astana’s Maxim Iglinskiy is always readily identifiable in the peloton from his mullet!

Birthday boy

Birthday boy (image: Astana)

For the less fashion-conscious amongst you, the mullet is a hairstyle that is short at the front and sides, and long in the back of the neck. It first appeared in the 1960s and 1970s, espoused by music legends such as David Bowie and Paul and Linda McCartney. It didn’t become really popular until the early 1980s – think Duran Duran – and the trend continued until the mid-1990s, as popularised by Laurent Brochard of Ag2r.

Brochard rocking a Michael Bolton

Brochard rocking a Michael Bolton (image: Cycling Archives)

Or did it? It might appear that Max is stuck in a bit of a time warp, along with the scariest man in the peloton Vladimir Karpets (Movistar). Maybe, it’s because they were both born in the early-1980s when said style was enjoying its heyday.

Scariest man in the peloton? Just don't ask him where he gets his hair done!

Scariest man in the peloton? Just don’t ask him where he gets his hair done! (image: Movistar)

But both former Paris-Roubaix winner Johann Vansummeren (Garmin-Sharp) and Sky’s Vasil Kiryienka have recently been seen sporting mullet-like styles.

Is Vasil sporting a mullet?

Is Vasil sporting a mullet? (image: Richard Whatley)

Yes, I do belive that's a mullet

Yes, I do believe that’s a mullet under Vansummeren’s unsightly lid (image: Garmin-Sharp)

Of course, it’s a style that’s popular with more than cyclists. It’s a style beloved of numerous professional sportsmen and, as I’ve recently discovered [so that’s what you get up to in your spare time – Ed], there are forums where the mullet is enthusiastically debated. I give you this from badboyberty on the Cyclingnews Forum after Max’s win last year in L-B-L:

It’s clear that Iglinskiy’s mullet acted as an aero flaring giving him an unfair advantage. The three-to-one rule must be extended to haircuts, otherwise euro-mullets will be used to distort the results of major races.

I’m not necessarily convinced about the aero effect of his hairstyling! I’m not aware that this has been wind-tunnel tested but I’m quite sure that Sky have probably assessed whether there are any marginal gains to be had from such a style, or indeed any other. But, don’t just take badboyberty’s word for it, check out the final kilometres of last year’s race. What do you think? Do bear in mind that the man he beat, current team-mate Vincenzo Nibali, favours a neat, short-back-and-sides.

The hairstyle has even been discussed in those august headquarters of cycling in Aigle where, as reported on A Twisted Spoke, in a wide-ranging interview [Pat] McQuaid singled out mullet abuse as an area of focus:

We also have some suspicions that the hairstyle in question may provide some aerodynamic benefit to the rider. We feel confident that doping is on the decline and now it’s time to set stringent guidelines for hair styling.

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