What do riders eat during 21 days on LE TOUR?
When I started to study Sport Nutrition in Barcelona University that was my first motivation…study how these riders eat and drink. Now, I can tell you…
They spend around 7.000 to 8.000 kcal/day and need to recover it daily, and they need high level of energy before, during and after each stage. How to manage that? They eat natural food and energetic bars!!!!
They have breakfast around 3 hours and half before the start. Usually they have oatmeal with quinoa or white rice with quinoa. They also eat lots of white rice and quinoa during lunch and dinner. Why? White rice is 100% natural cereal, a fast source of carbohydrate and there is no gluten in the composition, which makes the organism absorption better. They also have quinoa, a vegetal protein and carbohydrate source that is also easy to digest and is full of vitamins and amino acids.
Two hours before the start of a stage they drink slow-release carbohydrates for energy. They will sip this half-liter concoction on the bus and in the morning’s start town to bring their day’s calorie count to around 1.000 before the gun even goes off. Most riders burn 600 to 900 calories an hour, but their bodies can process only 250 to 300 per hour.
During the stage they eat gels, chews, and energetic bars. Garmin, for example, cooks up batches of rice bars and starts to give riders homemade salty and sweet options. That’s great for them. In this way the riders go up to about 2,500 calories by the end of a stage.
After crossing the finish line, they start to re-hydrate, drink some water with soda and isotonic drink, to keep sugar and mineral salt back to the body.
Once back on the bus, they have their first recovery drink, a sweet and fruity carbohydrate mix, and containers of white rice and egg dishes. They have also an optional second recovery drink that is a chocolate-flavored and protein-packed to aide muscle repair on the drive to the next hotel.
Dinnertime is white rice again! A meal can be a light Thai curry over white rice, for example, as well as some vegetables for their antioxidants.
That final binge of the day adds about 2.500 calories and enables to replenish muscles energy stores, give muscles the necessary protein to rebuild, then start loading up for the next day’s effort.
The riders should eat a rich meal, but also a good test meal! The body and mind of these champions need to be happy to keep riding during the 21 days in maximum effort.