The Tour de France is rightly the most difficult and toughest race that any rider can take part in. That’s not just because of the 21 stages that must be overcome and the three weeks of racing on the trot. After all, there are two other annual stage races which last for three weeks. However, in contrast to all the other races, for the Tour de France every team nominates its top riders and is focused right from the start of the season on achieving the greatest amount of success in this prestigious event.
We riders have to deal with all kinds of circumstances every day. The long stages over 200 km, the weather which can lead to sizzling battles or crashes in the rain and of course to extremely high maximum and average speeds. We also have to deal with stage routes which again and again prove to be tough. The Alps and the Pyrenees also need to be overcome if you want to make it to Paris. This means that all we’ve basically got time for is cycling, eating and sleeping.
Food is an extremely important part in the life of a pro cyclist. Most teams now have their own cook. Even before the Tour starts it is decided what the riders need to eat and what types of food should be prepared. Our chef team from “Kook Eiland” is really first-rate. The boys are always on the ball, always know exactly what they’re doing and deliver absolutely mega meals. Sometimes I think I’m living in a dream world after having ridden a tough and tortuous stage. You sit at the table and are served with one course after another. You never have to wait long until you have something in your stomach and the food is always sufficient and well presented. Even on a rest day the chefs make sure that the lunchtime meal doesn’t contain too much carbohydrate. At the end of the three weeks of racing we’ll have eaten some of the most diverse meals. One thing, however, always stays the same and that’s that we eat pasta and rice in the evening as well as pancakes and a type of “French Toast” for breakfast made with an eggs, milk and lemon mix, which is gently fried in a pan.
When one is back home again, it is unusual that nobody cooks for you in the mornings and evenings and you have to put your hand to cooking again. Therefore as you can see we are not just spoilt with a daily massage, but are also surprised again and again with culinary delights.
See you tomorrow, Seb