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Few sporting events are physically as demanding as a Grand Tour. Be it the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France or Vuelta a España, a single stage is enough to separate even the most accomplished cyclists. Over three consecutive weeks, however, most of us can only marvel at a spectacle where machine-like athletes burn monstrous amounts of energy to keep up with their extreme work ethic.

In the Vuelta, as in the other Grand Tours, riders don’t have the luxury of devouring platefuls of complex carbs when they’re in the saddle – they need convenient high-carb formats that can be carried easily and taken-in quickly with the least amount of gastrointestinal discomfort. Most importantly, their amounts need to be optimised for peak performance output.

THE NEXT GENERATION OF ENDURANCE FUELLING

When a team’s ability to perform rests heavily on your shoulders, the greatest challenge for its nutritionist is finding the fuelling solution to cover the high energy demands from the start to the finish of a Grand Tour.

Originally developed for Team Sky, with maltodextrin and fructose at a ratio of 2:1, the new SiS Beta Fuel range is the perfect fuelling solution for INEOS Grenadiers’ Performance Nutritionist, Marc Fell. The change in the ratio of maltodextrin to fructose, previously being 2:1 and now moving to 1:0.8 has seen significant improvements.

In the first study of its kind, Science in Sport tested feeding athletes 120g of Science in Sport Beta Fuel per hour, singularly, and combined across its patented range of gels, chews and drinks. The previously recommended intake for endurance fuelling was 90g per hour. These results have never been seen before. For Marc and the INEOS Grenadiers team, this meant a revolutionary change in fuelling guidelines, and a significant uplift in the performance potential of riders in the peloton.

From the study, tests showed:

  • Even after 3 hours of sustained effort 50% of energy used was from the SiS Beta Fuel, rather than the body’s own fuel stores, with no cross-over from carbohydrate to fat usage taking place
  • The 120g carbohydrate intake can be achieved from the SiS Beta Fuel drink, gel or jelly chew, or any combination of the three
  • Athletes were using 1.5g of carbohydrate per minute, some of the highest rates of carbohydrate oxidation ever reported, and had no stomach upset
  • They were able to sustain high performance intensity, with lower perceived effort

A WHOLE FUELLING SOLUTION

For Marc, Science in Sport’s Beta Fuel has proven invaluable, particularly as he’s able to adapt each product to the different types of stages or situations in a race. With the Beta Fuel range providing an added bonus – a variety of feeding formats – an approach often adopted by elite cyclists. SiS Beta Fuel covers each of these with a solid (chews), semi-solid (gels) and drink that are all in the correct carbohydrate formulation to optimise cycling performance for riders, making the planning and execution of a race day nutrition strategy for Marc, and the INEOS Grenadiers cyclists, even easier.

Here are Marc’s fuelling choices from the Beta Fuel range, and when his riders best utilise them, for all the stage types of the 2022 Vuelta a España Grand Tour:

FLAT STAGES

Number of hilly stages at the 2022 Vuelta a España: 6
Stages: 2, 3, 11, 13, 16 and 21
Best suited Beta Fuel product: Powder & Gels
They may sound easy, but flat stages are still incredibly demanding. This is when the sprinters come out, and the gels are a quick and easy on-the-go option to enable the riders to keep-up their high-carb intake. Our riders will also use the powder here in their drinks bottles – as they will on all stages of the race – for energy as well as hydration.

HILLY STAGES

Number of hilly stages at the 2022 Vuelta a España: 5
Stages: 4, 5, 7, 17 and 19
Best suited Beta Fuel product: Chews
For hilly stages such as The Almáchar mountain pass and the mid-mountain stage that crosses the Fonsagrada area, the new Beta Fuel chews are a great option because they provide 46g of fast carbohydrates in a solid but easy-to-digest format so there’s a regular provision of energy to the working muscles.

MOUNTAIN STAGES

Number of mountain stages at the 2022 Vuelta a España: 8
Stages: 6, 8, 9, 12, 14, 15, 18 and 20
Best suited Beta Fuel product: Gel
For those mountain stages such as the Alto de Velefique on stage 9, the Lagos de Covadonga on stage 17, and the Alto de Gamoniteiro on stage 18, Beta Fuel gel is ideal to get a higher amount of energy than the usual gels but still the same volume, and in one go. They deliver rapid fuel and come in a practical format, which is the best formula you need for those critical moments of a race.

TIME-TRIAL STAGES

Number of time-trial stages at the 2022 Vuelta a España: 2
Stages: 1 and 10
Best suited Beta Fuel product: Gel + Nootropics
For time-trials, such as those at Stage 1 (7.1km around Burgos Cathedral) and Stage 21 (33.8km from Padrón to Santiago de Compostela), and summit finishes, the nootropics gel is a great option as a boost before a big effort. It not only provides the right energy but also a high dose of caffeine and other stimulants such as Citicoline and Taurine that contribute to improving performance and delaying fatigue.

Launched as a whole fuelling solution, Beta Fuel now has a brand-new 1:0.8 carbohydrate ratio that increases your power output and improves your carbohydrate usage efficiency. The range includes four easy-to-consume formats in a variety of great-tasting flavours. Explore the whole optimised Beta Fuel range here.

Written By

The Performance Solutions Team