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Working on my second Tour de France and Grand Tour, I’m James Moran, one of three Performance Nutritionists who work with the INEOS Grenadiers.
As well as providing nutrition support to the INEOS Grenadiers riders in training and racing, along with Ainhoa Prieto, I am also responsible for providing innovative fuelling solutions with Science in Sport as part of its Performance Solutions Team, to push the boundaries of science to ultimately help improve INEOS Grenadiers performance.

Here is a typical day in my life as Performance Nutritionist for the INEOS Grenadiers at a Grand Tour:

06:30-07:00: Usual wake up. This will depend on how long the transfer to the start of the stage is. On the days before the race and on the rest days staff will tend to go for an early morning jog together. However, once the race starts, the late nights and early mornings mean that there are fewer opportunities for the staff to exercise!

07:45: I arrive on the kitchen truck to check in with the chef before the riders arrive for breakfast at 08:00. Part of my role is to put each riders’ individual supplements in their place at the dining table. Each rider has an individual supplement regime to support their specific health and performance goals.

08:00-10:00: Breakfast time will depend on the when the stage starts and how long it will take to drive to the race start. Riders will arrive at different times in the breakfast window. Typically, older riders with young kids used to being woken up early at home are the first to arrive at 08:00. Sleep is a crucial part of recovery in a Grand Tour so riders will try to maximise time in bed where possible. I will usually have a quick chat with the riders as they come through to see how they have recovered from the day before. Riders will have had their individual nutrition plans sent out to them overnight electronically so they can look at what’s in store before breakfast.

09-09:30: I take the recovery food and any other cakes / extras prepared by the chef and store them in the team bus fridge for after the race. I also double check that all the snacks made by the carers and SiS nutrition products are fully stocked up on the bus for the riders to take. I also have a quick chat with the bus driver to make sure that he has got the recovery options that I have requested available and is clear on which rider is having which recovery drink, food, and snacks after the race. I place an individual fuelling plan in the place of each rider for them to look at on the way to the race start. Before the convoy sets off, I circulate the extra feed plan to all the staff. This is so that everyone involved is clear on where on the course they need to be and what bottles, gels or small feed bags called ‘musettes’ they need to pass to the riders in the race.

09:40-10:30: All staff and riders depart to the race start in convoy. I will usually grab breakfast and coffee to go and eat on the way to the start as it is usually busy in the mornings!

11:00: Once at the race starts my work for the morning has been done. I try not to get in the way of the mechanics, carers, and riders but to be on hand if anyone has a last-minute nutrition question before the race!

12:00: Race Time! During the race, the nutritionist is usually partnered with one of the physios and we share driving and navigation duties to get to 2-3 ‘extra feed’ spots along the route. Once in position we prepare the correct drink bottles or small feed bags to hand to the riders from the roadside as they come flying past!

15:00-17:00: Race Finish I would usually get to the team bus to try and catch the riders as they cool down to have a quick chat about their fuelling and to check that the recovery protocols are being followed on the bus.

17:00-19:00: Hotel: This will depend on the transfer after the stage which can be anywhere from 10 minutes to 3 hours! I usually head straight to the kitchen truck to catch up with the chef to see if there are any last-minute tweaks we need to make to the menu to nudge hydration, increase carbohydrates or something for the head if there has been an eventful day! I then try and catch up with the riders individually during massage to see how their nutrition was over the day and if we need to change anything ahead of the next stage. We capture fuelling data via an app that the riders fill out, but I find that the conversations with the riders are where you get the rich information!

19:30-21:30: Dinner: At dinner I try to get the balance between being present to answer questions, have informal conversations and observe rider intakes and behaviours whilst giving the riders space. The kitchen truck at dinner is a place where the riders can feel calm and enjoy their food without any hassle and stress.

21:30-22:00: Menu for the next day and dinner: After the riders leave, this is when I will usually sit down with the chef and we have dinner. One of the perks of being part of the nutrition team is getting to eat riders’ leftovers rather than the usual hotel food! Obviously, we have much smaller portions and less carbohydrate than the riders. In this time, we will formalise our menu plan for the next day and discuss if there are any changes that we need to make.

22:00-00:00: Hotel room finishing off nutrition analysis from the current day and writing plans for the next day. Bed before midnight is usually a small victory!

As you can see the days are long! But after a few stages we usually find a rhythm.
To keep up to date with the latest from The Tour, follow Science in Sport on social media.

Written By

James Moran

James is a Performance Nutritionist and Registered Dietitian with over 10 years experience in clinical and sports nutrition. He has worked in a variety of professional sports, mostly specialising in endurance sports. More recently he has worked with SiS, the Ineos Grenadiers, British Cycling and the English Institute of Sport, supporting athletes at Le Tour de France and Tokyo 2020.