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The Tour de France is arguably the greatest cycling event in the world. The Tour itself, covers an incredible 3,404km over 21 days, this year with just two stages breaking the 200km barrier – stage 2 Vitoria-Gasteiz > Saint-Sebastien (209km) and stage 8 Libourne > Limoges (201km). 

Ultra-endurance exercise can be overwhelming to think about when considering your nutrition. If you’re feeling inspired to get in the saddle, you might be wondering where to start with fuelling a 200km ride yourself either in training or in an organised sportive. This article is designed to give you a head start in planning your fuelling for those ultra-long cycling distances! 


Ultra-endurance nutrition 

It is well known that sub-optimal nutrition is well associated with a decrease in performance, therefore fuelling strategically for ultra-endurance distances is highly important. Though it does come with difficulties such as the development of gastrointestinal symptoms, appetite suppression, practical or logistical issues and taste fatigue i.e. getting bored of the same thing over and over again. 

When looking specifically at carbohydrate consumption, 82% of published endurance-based research articles as reviewed here, showed significant performance benefits by consuming carbohydrates vs water alone.  

Particularly, blends of dual-source carbohydrate (as seen within our SiS BETA Fuel range), have been shown to augment greater carbohydrate oxidation over single source carbohydrates. This is necessary when you are wanting to consume over 60g of carbohydrates per hour. For ultra-endurance rides, some may even want to look at consuming 80-120g of carbohydrate per hour to optimise performance. 

The SiS BETA Fuel range has been evidenced to reach oxidation rates of 120g per hour without causing unwanted gastrointestinal symptoms in cyclists. How much to consume per hour (anywhere between 60-120g per hour) will vary a lot depending on individual factors such as body weight and gastric emptying rates. Therefore, the amount of carbohydrate you consume, should be built up gradually over time in training to see how your gut responds.  


Fuel like the INEOS Grenadiers 

For the INEOS Grenadiers, SiS BETA Fuel has long been a gamechanger. Originally launched in 2018, it famously powered Chris Froome’s sensational 80km solo ride on Stage 19 of the 2018 Giro d’Italia.  

Credited by Sir Dave Brailsford as the fuel behind the famous victory, SiS continued to work closely with the Grenadiers to not only develop an improved BETA Fuel 80 drink that now uses a precise balance of maltodextrin and fructose (1:0.8), but also to expand the product into the BETA Fuel range that available today that includes gels and chews.   

We spoke to Dr Marc Fell, our embedded nutritionist within the INEOS team to gain an insight into how the riders use products like SiS BETA Fuel 80 to tackle distances over 200km.  

Long stages of 200km mean that riders can be riding for around 5-6 hours which means fuelling on the bike is of critical importance to ensure they have sufficient energy to get through these stages without losing any time.  

During such long-distance stages riders could be consuming anywhere between 60 – 120 g/h of carbohydrates depending on the type of stage it is. If it is a 200 km flat sprint stage, then riders may be consuming towards the lower end or middle of this range whilst if it is a 200km high mountain stage riders would be aiming to consume the upper end of this range.  

However, it isn’t always easy to consume this amount of carbohydrates during long distance rides and it is especially important to try and ensure you have a variety of fuelling products to meet these needs to avoid taste fatigue. This is where SiS products are particularly applicable and ideal, as during these types of rides, riders would use products such as the GO Energy Bakes, GO Energy bars and BETA Fuel chews during the early parts of these races before then switching to more easy to consume products such as BETA Fuel gels and GO Isotonic gels towards the end of the stage whilst also sipping on BETA Fuel 80 throughout the duration of the ride.  

This ultimately ensures that riders are getting variety in their fuelling options but still been able to meet the recommended fuelling intake targets. Additionally, during such long rides it can also become a mental challenge to ensure riders are maintaining concentration over such a long period of time, this is where the likes of the BETA Fuel + Nootropics gel can be very useful as it will not only provide a source of energy through the carbohydrates it contains but also contains nootropics and 200mg of caffeine to help boost mental and physical performance.” 


Sport nutrition supplements, real food and practicalities 

Specifically designed sport nutrition products are a great way to build up your nutrition plan as they are designed to be eaten on the go and be as practical as possible. At SiS, there are a variety of formats and flavours to choose from which can help keep it varied throughout your ride! 


The carbohydrate content of the SiS Energy range can be seen below: 


Product  Carbohydrate per serving 
Beta Fuel 80  80g 
GO Energy Powder  47g 
BETA Fuel Chews  46g 
BETA Fuel Energy Gels   40g 
GO Electrolyte Powder   36g 
GO Energy Bakes   30g 
GO Energy Mini Bar   26g 
GO Isotonic Energy Gels  22g 


However, you might want to include some real food options as well. This can help you work your nutritional needs to your personal preferences. Good energy options include bananas, rice cakes, dried fruit and malt loaf. 


With whatever fuel you choose to use, it is important to ask yourself the following questions about the practicalities of that fuel: 

  • Does this supplement and/or food travel well and will it survive (e.g., will it melt?) in my jersey pocket after a few hours? 
  • Is it easy to open and consume whilst on the bike? 
  • Have you tested this nutrition well beforehand? 
  • How much space does it take up in your pocket or in your nutrition storage box on your bike? 
  • Do you need extra nutrition storage on the bike or an extra bottle holder? 
  • Check what supplements or food is  provided at aid stations in and event. Is there something suitable?  
  • If I lose nutrition e.g. dropping a bottle (more so during training than in a race), is there a shop or café on route I can use?  
  • Have you also considered hydration and electrolytes? You can read more about that here 


Examples of how you can fuel a 200km ride using SiS products.
Predicted completion time: 6-7 hours (~29-33km/hour) 

  • 3 x 500ml bottles containing Beta Fuel powder per bottle (240g) 
  • 2 x 46g Beta Fuel chews (92g) 
  • 2 x 40g Beta Fuel gel (80g) 
  • 2 x GO Energy bake (60g) 
  • 2 x GO Isotonic energy gel (44g) 
  • 40g Beta Fuel gel + nootropics towards the end of the ride (40g) 

Total carbohydrate intake: 556g (~80-93g of carbohydrate per hour) 

Predicted completion time: 7-8 hours (~25-28km/hour) 

  • 3 x 500ml bottles containing Beta Fuel powder per bottle (240g) 
  • 3 x 46g Beta Fuel chews (138g) 
  • 3 x 40g Beta Fuel gel (120g) 
  • 2 x GO Energy bake (60g) 
  • 2 x GO Isotonic energy gel (44g) 
  • 40g Beta Fuel gel + nootropics towards the end of the ride (40g) 

Total carbohydrate intake: 642g (~80-92g of carbohydrate per hour) 


Ultimately, the combination of what works for you will heavily depend on the practicalities mentioned above. 

Take home messages 

Give your body what it needs! Carbohydrate will be your primary fuel source throughout your long ride. Aim to consume dual source carbohydrates when consuming over 60g of carbohydrate per hour, the SiS BETA Fuel range is the perfect solution. 

 Know the route. Whether a race or training day, know the route well and where your opportunities to refuel will be. If in a race/organised event situation it is likely you will have access to nutrition stops at different points on the course so it’s good to know in advance what distances they will be at and what will be on offer. For unorganised longer rides it’s useful to know if you can refuel on route at a café and/or shop. 

Practice makes perfect. It’s so important to practice your fuelling strategy during training rides and consider the practicalities of how you’re going to fuel. Experiment with different foods and sport nutrition supplements to see what works best for you in terms of your gastrointestinal system, taste preferences and energy levels.  

Written By

Dr Emily Jevons - PhD in Exercise Physiology & Nutrition, Clean Sport Advisor

Emily has worked with Science in Sport since 2021. With a PhD in Exercise Physiology & Nutrition, she currently provides nutritional advice for endurance athletes. Emily not only understands the science behind performance nutrition solutions, but also the physiological and psychological demands of sport after competing competitively in swimming and triathlon for a number of years.