The average Tour de France cyclist is expected to burn about 6000 calories a day, or 8000 a day if they are heading into the mountains.
That’s a lot of calories to get through, and it is quite a feat to replace them so that riders’ energy levels don’t become depleted.
Nutritionalists, the Team’s Chef, soigneuers and the riders themselves need to work hard to ensure tanks are kept topped up throughout 3 weeks of racing.
Every rider and team will have a different approach to fuelling, but here’s a look at some of the breakfasts, on-ride-snacks and dinners that keep the peloton going.
Since most people’s bodies are only capable of processing 250 – 300 calories per hour, whilst riders can be burning 600 – 900 per hour during the stage, a lot of that energy needs to be consumed before the stage starts, and at the end of the day, between travelling and massages.
For Team Sky, it’s all about marginal gains, and starting the day with perfect porridge, ommlette, and a few slices of bread is the best way to go – here’s how to make a Team Sky breakfast:
We’re currently stocking the CNP Team Sky High Protein Porridge which contains many of the ingredients in Chef Soren Kristiansen concoction.
For a closer look at some of the quirks adopted by Team Sky, and an explanation of how to make one of their breakfast smoothies, check out our post on the Little Things.
During the stage
Of course, no tour rider can start the day with all the food needed for that stage jammed into their back pockets –so musettes are packed by soignuers and handed out at feeding zones along the route.
The contents of the all-important musette vary between riders based on personal preference, but more dramatically between teams, based upon advice from the team nutritionalist or chef.
Here’s a look at what goes into a range of Tour de France musettes…
Every musette contains energy drinks, the form of carbohydrate this is most quickly absorbed, plus energy gels and bars to keep the riders going.
These products have all been carefully formulated to deliver energy quickly and in the correct carbohydrate form that works best for cycling. There is a wide variety available, with textures and flavours to suit even the most fussy taste buds. You can see our full range here.
For advice on what to eat on a ride, check out the long ride guide we wrote with High5.
Following a stage, more refuelling of course is essential. On a grand tour, dinner is both a way to recover from the previous day, and a preparation for the upcoming stage in the morning.