We’ve worked closely with team nutritionist Dr. James Morton to determine the best use of products according to the riders training phase and race goals, from the early season classics to the grand tour season. Each rider has a specific nutrition plan according to their goals. The riders are also well fed off the bike by the Team Sky chef and their own kitchen truck. We look at what fuelled Froome to Tour de France victory from the meals on the bus, to the gels on the bike.
When it comes to his pre-race breakfast, Froome wouldn’t have anything different to a normal diet. This includes porridge, eggs, yoghurts, fruit smoothies and fruit / vegetable juices, just in slightly larger quantities than in the off season! This would be kept consistent throughout race days, with Whey Protein available to blend with the shakes to help increase protein intake and support the maintenance of his lean muscle mass when the daily calorie expenditure was as high as 5000-8000kcal per day.
It may be a surprise to learn that the first drink consumed in Team Sky’s bidon on the bike is an Advanced Isolate+. Riders’ must take all opportunities to maintain their lean muscle mass by taking on a quality protein source, rich in BCAAs and James monitors the riders weight closely by weighing the riders before and after every day of the tour.
Race fuelling is always planned and followed strictly by each rider, having been well practiced in training camps and earlier season races such as the Criterium du Dauphine. The riders aim for three pieces of “energy” per hour, which is usually a combination of a carbohydrate-electrolyte drink, SiS GO Energy Bars, GO Isotonic Energy Gels or rice cakes. Froome would often consume more solid food during less intense sections of races, such as apple flavour rice cakes.
When the pace stepped up, Froome switched to the GO Isotonic Energy Gels. These are saved when energy is needed fast. GO Energy + Caffeine Gels are also extremely popular with the riders to help them drive the peloton up the toughest climbs and allow Chris to push to success on tough tests like Col du Galibier.
Froome understands that to win a stage, especially in the heat, ‘pre-hydration’ is important. All riders would use GO Hydro before a race to help absorb and retain fluid so that it is used effectively during each stage. This would be coupled with fluid from juices and shakes. Riders will aim to take on at least 5-10ml of fluid, per kilo of their body mass in the 2-4 hours before each stage.
The amount of fluid taken on by Froome depends on his sweat rate. This would have been worked out before the tour, in similar conditions. Froome would aim to take in 500- 1000ml of fluid per hour. Froome wouldn’t consume just water. This would be an extra opportunity to take on energy and electrolytes. Froome would use an GO Electrolyte drink in the limited edition white and blue tipped bottles handed out by Team Sky support staff.
All Team Sky riders take recovery seriously, with often less than 24 hours until the next stage. As soon as Froome finished a stage, he would take an REGO Rapid Recovery shake to help kick start protein synthesis, replace carbohydrate stores and begin his rehydration strategy.
On the bus back to the hotel, Froome would aim to re-hydrate effectively using GO Hydro. He will aim to take on 150% of the fluid lost during the stage. In addition, all riders would consume a meal containing mainly carbohydrate, moderate protein and vegetables.
When returning to the hotel, he would sit down with the rest of the Team Sky riders for an evening meal prepared by the team chef. This would include a variety of food, starting with salads and main dishes of rice, pastas, chicken, fish, potatoes and vegetables. Fruits and flans would also be available for desert.
Before going to sleep, he would take a slow-releasing protein shake to slowly feed his muscles with protein throughout the night, ready to race again the next day and make sure he hung on to his valuable, watt-generating lean muscle mass.