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We’re just days away from the start of the 2018 Tour de France, with the 21-day journey starting on July 7 in Noirmoutier-en-l’Île.

Ever wonder what riders in the peloton eat throughout the race? It’s a common question, and the results certainly vary. Top level squads typically have a nutritionist and in-house chef to prepare food for the riders during major races.

A typical meal schedule looks something like this: breakfast, pre-race light snack, in-race nutrition, post-race recovery nutrition, dinner, and a final snack before bed. During mountain stages, riders aim to consume some calories at least every 30 minutes – and two bottles per hour (typically drinking water and some type of electrolyte drink).

Corinne Mäder, Senior Sports Nutrition Manager at Powerbar, had this to say (via CyclingWeekly): “To fuel the journey riders need to consume an average of 5,000-plus calories per stage. Maintaining such a huge energy intake is challenging.

Suppression of appetite and meal fatigue due to eating the same food every day for weeks must also be managed. Gastro-intestinal problems can also occur, especially during the latter part of the race, and sports nutrition products and food must therefore be selected carefully and tailored to the individual rider.”

As noted by OTE Sport:

The recommended daily calorie intake for the riders ranges from 4000 – 9000kcal, while fluid intake can be as high as 10 litres. Typical daily carbohydrate needs vary from 500-700g, with approximately two-thirds of this being consumed after the race. Rider variation, weather conditions, terrain and altitude all play an important role in determining rider’s nutritional requirements. No two riders will have the same nutritional requirements.”

Video Resources

Wall Street Journal shows what riders eat for breakfast (2016):

What do riders eat during a rest day? GCN shared this, courtesy of Team EF Education First Drapac p/b Cannondale” (formerly Cannondale-Drapac) – (2016):

What is in a musette bag distributed to riders during a stage? Some additional “Pro Cycling Nutrition”:

[Image courtesy of Pixabay / HilmarBuschow]

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