Tour-De-France Riders’ Diet Secrets

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2017 Tour de France sprint picture
2017 Tour de France sprint picture

The Tour de France is a quite grueling sporting activity in which a rider has to overcome a three-week test of endurance and speed of more than 2,200 miles. To overcome the tough challenge, riders have to work hard and eat a special diet.

Here we are revealing their key diet secrets in order to help you understand what it takes to be a part of the world’s most iconic cycling race and know which foods are trusted by the top riders.

Marathon Eaters

Sean Fowler who serves as team chef for Cannondale-Drapac team believes that all the participants need to be marathon eaters because they have to keep chewing on and off the bike. A healthy cyclist usually absorbs 320-380 calories in an hour and burns more than 5000 calories at the stage. The cyclist also burns 1,500 calories in the rest of the day. The key job of their chefs is to ensure that they not only keep on eating but they are happy with the foods and the variety offered to them. The food should also be highly nutritious, which again is a massive challenge.

Tour de France rider having a burger
Tour de France rider having a burger

Bread and Spaghetti

Nicki Strobel who serves as the Head Chef with the Orica-GreenEdge team says that a few years back, everyone was avoiding gluten but now it’s not like that. Now, he makes two types of bread for breakfast and sandwiches which can be consumed while riding. He also cooks up huge amounts of spaghetti Bolognese for dinner, especially before the long stages.

Rice, Juice, and Shakes

Nigel Mitchell who serves as Head of Nutrition of the Cannondale-Drapac team says that post stage, the riders need to have a recovery shake. And when they are on the bus, each of them has about 300 grams of cooked rice and 1.5 liters heavily diluted pineapple juice.

Nigel Mitchell, the Head of Nutrition of the Cannondale-Drapac team
Nigel Mitchell, the Head of Nutrition of the Cannondale-Drapac team

Breakfast Options

The members of the Cannondale-Drapac team enjoy two categories of breakfast. The first is named as breakfast box in which the riders have some oatmeal, muesli, cereals and fruit smoothie in early mornings. They have the second category of breakfast just three hours before the start of the stage. It is also known as race meal and includes an omelet and low-fiber white rice. This meal helps in topping off the glycogen supply in the muscles.

The first is named as breakfast box in which the riders have some oatmeal, muesli, cereals and fruit smoothie in early mornings. They have the second category of breakfast just three hours before the start of the stage. It is also known as race meal and includes an omelet and low-fiber white rice. This meal helps in topping off the glycogen supply in the muscles.

They have the second category of breakfast just three hours before the start of the stage. It is also known as race meal and includes an omelet and low-fiber white rice. This meal helps in topping off the glycogen supply in the muscles.

In-Race Food Options

The nutrition needs of all the riders vary. This is the reason, some of them prefer gels, others prefer sports drinks and some like bars. Some even have a ham sandwich in the peloton, according to Strobel. Some riders also like the good old rice bars but rice is not as popular as it was before.

When Eating Gets Tough

Dylan Van Baarle, a rider of Cannondale-Drapac states that though, he prefers to eat something after every half hour and drink two bottles per hour, it becomes hard to eat or drink anything during the mountain stages, especially when it’s a bit cold out there.

Dylan Van Baarle, a rider of Cannondale-Drapac
Dylan Van Baarle, a rider of Cannondale-Drapac

Mitchell says that because of the fact that eating or drinking becomes tough in the mountain stage. The riders get an extra 40 grams of carbohydrate mixed in their recovery drink that also has loads of protein. This drink is offered on depleting mountain stages.

Dinner Options

Fowler says that in many cases, “Grand Tour saturation” sets in for riders which make it difficult to get the riders to eat enough for the demands of the race. A solution to such a situation is to change the dinner menu. Dinner at these times includes a lot of nutrient-dense vegetables that are eaten as raw as possible. The menu also includes a lot of digestible protein and carbohydrates. The dinner menu may include beet salad with grated apples, roasted garlic risotto, julienned carrot salad with walnuts & goat cheese, oven roasted broccoli & cauliflower, fresh berries with almond milk kefir, pickles dressed in honey mustard and stewed rabbit mole.

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