Maarten Tjallingii of Team Silence-Lotto is in the running for the title of the Netherlands' "Sexiest Vegetarian," in a poll sponsored by a Dutch animal rights group Wakker Dier, in conjunction with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
Tjallingii, who turns 31 tomorrow, will ride for Rabobank next season. He is "a prime example that eating meat is not necessary for top athletes," stated Wakker Dier.
PETA holds the contest annually and selects its winners from various countries and continents. Last year's worldwide winners were singers Leona Lewis and Anthony Kiedis of the rock group Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Vegetarianism's strongest influence on cycling was the Linda McCartney Racing Team, which operated from 1998 to 2001. McCartney, who died in 1998, was the wife of former Beatles member Paul McCartney, and both were vegetarians. The team was to be composed strictly of vegetarian riders and support staff. Financial problems caused the team to cease operations in January 2001.
To vote for Tjallingii, or any of the other candidates visit www.wakkerdier.nl/sexyvegetarier/(SW)