In fact, good looks might be a “shortcut” signal so that women can choose the most physically fit mate, says Erik Postma, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Zurich in Switzerland.

His somewhat casual survey finds women and men alike tend to agree on which men are the most attractive — and this tends to correlate with their athletic performance, at least when it comes to cycling. …

For the survey, Postma chose 80 photographs of Tour de France participants, cropped to show their faces. If people recognized any of the athletes, their answers were thrown out. That way, Postma said, people would choose men they truly found attractive and not just go for the known winners. …

But the correlation was clear. The top 10 percent of cyclists in terms of performance in the race were rated at 25 percent more attractive than the bottom 10 percent, Postma reports in the journal Biology Letters.