Calorie Consumption

This is Greg Lemonds response to a question regarding the food he eats at the Tour.

How much do those guys eat?

Q:What is the daily caloric consumption of riders during mountain stages of races such as the Tour de France? What would the daily menu look like?

A:It varies between 6,000 and 10,000 calories a day. Our typical diet would start when we get up and have some cereal. They would have pastas for us, too. I would have eggs, a little protein three or four hours before the race. A lot of people, a lot of American athletes, are saying “how do you eat a lot of fat and protein?” At the Tour de France level you need a lot of fat and protein. You need to keep your hormones at a very high level and you need to rebuild your muscle. They’ve done studies where riders eat very little protein, very little fat. They basically wilt away, lose all their muscle mass, and are not capable of taking enough calories in.

Anyway, a breakfast would be pasta, cereal, eggs, bread, and coffee. Then during the race you’d have some kind of carbohydrate food. I personally prefer liquid food than food food. In the long stages when the speed is slow you can eat a little food. By eating a lot of food when it’s high intensity, you risk dehydration and will risk not getting enough carbohydrates. It depends. Immediately after the race we’d eat a lot of carbos and fluids. It’s most important to have some right after the race–that half an hour is the best time to recover. After that we’d have dinner. Ideally, if I had my way with my team, I’d have a bowl of pasta. They’d always have a ham-and-cheese sandwich. Dinner would be one meat, then soup, pasta, vegetables, cheese, and dessert

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