What Do Tour de France Riders Eat For Lunch? | How Pro Cyclists Fuel For Bike Races


– If you’ve been watching
the Tour de France so far, then you may have seen the riders taking on bags like this
from people stood at the side of the road, roughly
halfway through each stage. They’re called Musettes,
and they’re full of food. The reason for it is it means the riders don’t have to start each day stage with their pockets jam packed full, bursting with all the food
that they’d need for the day. In essence, they contain
the riders’ lunch. In this video, we’re going to go through exactly what is in a typical musette, we’re also going to explain why it’s there and show you how to make
some of the special things that the pros eat like rice cakes. But before we do, make
sure you subscribe to GCN if you haven’t already, and
also click the little bell icon as it will give you a notification
when we upload a video and, well, it’s free and it
helps support the channel. Here is our GCN musette, I’m
going to put everything in it. Starting with the biggest
item, which is bottles. (relaxed electronic music) Typically you’ll find
two bottles in a musette, or bidon, is what they’re
called if you’re French. And this means that when the
riders take their musette, they’ll get rid of the
bottles that are on their bike which means that if you’re
after a pro water bottle as a souvenir, a good place to go, is to hang around in or just after the feed zone at a pro race. There are loads of different things that you can put inside bottles, and these will be tailored
for the individual riders depending on their personal preference but also the demands of a stage. So you can just have
plain old water in there. And a lot of riders do, but
you can also use energy powders such as these from our friends
of the channel, Enervit. They come in either sachets or tubs. And they allow you to rehydrate with all the essential minerals but also get in that fuel as well and that carbohydrate for the stage. Something else we’ve
seen as a bit of a trend, which we noticed at
the Giro is some riders actually have protein in
some of their bottles. And this’ll typically be on a flat stage where for someone who’s
a Grand Tour contender, this is almost like a
recovery day for them and so, they’ll have a bit of protein in one of their bottles at
some part during the stage just to help that recovery process. Personally, I like to have
water in one my bottles and then some energy
powder in the other one. So that’s what I’ve got, and they’re going to go in the musette. Next up is energy bars. Now one of the great
things about energy bars is that they contain quite
a lot of carbohydrates in a relatively small volume, meaning, well, they don’t take up a huge amount of space in your pocket. Now they come in all
sorts of different flavors and types these days, and generally, they’re full of easy
to absorb carbohydrates which is what you want. But a recent trend we’ve noticed with pro riders is we’re
increasingly seeing them go for ones with protein in. Now, this has the added benefit of helping the riders
recover and adapt to exercise while they’re doing it. Over the course of a three week Grand Tour like the Tour de France, the small things like recovering a bit better,
can make all the difference. I’m going to put a few of these in the bag I’ll put one of the protein ones in there. And then a couple of
these lemon cream flavor. My favorite. Next up is gels. Now, gels are probably the most well known and sort of, well, Family
Fortunes top answer for what cyclists eat on the bike. They come in hundreds of different types and flavors, but if you’re not familiar with what they are, they’re
essentially a very viscous, sugary liquid that you
can quickly slurp down, get it in your system
and it’s rapidly absorbed and gets into the bloodstream to supply you with that
glucose, fructose and sucrose and other sugar molecules
that are in there to keep you fueled. Now, there are loads of
different kinds of gels, there’s isotonic gels to
help keep you hydrated on really hot days, and
there’s also caffeine gels which are gels with caffeine in them. And the pros like to take these to give them a little bit of a boost, generally towards the end of a stage. And gels in general are
something that they take towards the back end of a race or stage, they tend to start with
more real solid food, so the bars and the other
bits we’re going to get on to. And then when they really
want that quick boost at the end, gels. I’m going to put in
this caffeine flavor one for the end of today’s stage for me. What have we got here? Cola flavor and orange flavor. I’m a cola man, I’ll have a cola gel. Next up is something that
you might not expect. But it is something we see
quite often in pro musettes. And that is a can of fizzy drink. Now, I am a normal sized human being, this isn’t a normal sized can. Just wanted to clear that up in case you thought I
was a giant or something. It’s a little 150 milliliter can instead of a normal 330 mil one. Although you wouldn’t
see this particular drink because I just picked
this off Lloydie’s desk and it’s beer, put that right over there. You’re more likely to see Coca-Cola. And the reason for that is
it’s a sugary cold drink and the riders, well,
if they like the taste, it’s good for morale. But you’re not going to
see a normal sized can and the reason for that is it’s fizzy and the bubbles and the gas, it could cause a bit of bloating, a bit of indigestion
which isn’t what you want while you’re riding a bike. But we’ll put it in the musette. In many musettes, you’ll
find little sandwiches called paninis, within the
sport, referring to Italian. And they’ll often be wrapped like this. Now, what they are is typically, little sweet, well
slightly sweet brioche buns like this, no crusts, and then filled with different fillings,
it is lunchtime after all. Now, Dan Lloyd’s favorite
filling he tells me, was peanut butter with bits of banana in so that’s what we’ve gone for. But chocolate spread is also common if you’re feeling naughty. But also, more savory things, so, tuna, ham, cheese, whatever,
anything goes really. Whatever the riders like. So we’re going to put a couple
of these in the musette as well. And while the carbohydrates
in the little sandwich aren’t as easily absorbed as something like a
specialist energy powder, it is nice to have something
that’s a little bit savory and a little bit more solid in and amongst all that
easily absorbed food and it’s a bit nicer for
the digestive system. Especially over the course of three weeks. Next up, rice cakes, I’ve got some here. And rice cakes have become a firm favorite amongst riders in the pro peloton. And for good reason, rice is a
great source of carbohydrate, it’s very easily absorbed and
it places very little stress on the digestive system
and the gut of most people. It’s also low residue which means that for the amount of energy
it actually contains, it doesn’t leave much
fiber behind in the gut. So, you’re not carrying the
excess weight of that fiber that wouldn’t otherwise be doing anything which is crucial in a sport like cycling where power to weight is so important. I’m going to put a couple
of rice cakes in the musette but before I do, we’re going
to head into the kitchen and I’m going to show you
exactly how you can make and wrap your own rice cakes. (relaxed electronic music) Now, gels and bars are
a great source of fuel, but you wouldn’t
necessarily want to eat them all day everyday for
three weeks at a time. And, well, neither do the pros. I’m going to show you how to
make a basic rice cake recipe which I learnt from Nigel Mitchell from EF Education First-Drapac. Now, this is a recipe
that I make quite a lot and I really like the taste of it and my friends like it too. It makes 20 cakes and each
cake has about 23, 24 grams of carbs in it and is
about 120, 130 calories. Right, let’s crack on, get ’em made and then I’ll show you the pro
wrapping technique as well. I’m going to need the GCN Capron. (bell ringing) These are the ingredients for
the recipe, first up, rice. Now, you should typically
use a pudding style rice or a risotto type grain, you
can use sushi rice as well. I’ve got arborio risotto
rice, 500 grams of that. Some soft cream cheese, 250 grams. Just as it is in the tub. Some vanilla extract, some cinnamon, just ground, normal cinnamon. Some sugar. And some agave nectar to sweeten it. You could also use honey
as well if you wanted to. I’m first going to wash the rice and get ride of the starchy residue on it. And then, what you want to do is put it in a large saucepan like this and make sure you’ve got a lid. To the washed rice, I’m going to
add three tablespoons of sugar I’m using white caster sugar but you can use whatever
kind of sugar you want. I’m then going to add a couple
of teaspoons of cinnamon. I’m not measuring this,
I’m just winging it. And finally, a teaspoon
of vanilla extract. To the rice mixture here,
I’m now going to add 800 mils of water, now try and be
fairly precise with this. If you add too much water,
it’ll result in the rice being too gooey and too sloppy and it won’t hold its shape very well. You then bring this mixture to the boil and then once it’s boiled
reduced it to a simmer. Should take about 10 minutes to cook. And it’s important to put the lid on. If you’ve got a rice cooker, use one of those ’cause
they’re really good but, it’s not essential,
you can just use a pan. But, reason why you’ve
got to have the lid on is it helps keep the moisture in there and helps keep the
water volume consistent. If you didn’t have a lid
the water would evaporate and you’d actually not have the right amount of water for the rice. You can tell when the rice is cooked because basically, all
the water’s been absorbed and the rice has gone nice and soft. So, I’m going to take this
off the heat now, done. Next step is to put the rice mixture inside a large tray like this. To the cooked rice mixture,
we’re now going to add 250 grams of cream cheese, you can make it vegan so you could use a vegan alternative if you wanted to to normal cream cheese. We’re also going to add the agave nectar or you could use honey
as I mentioned before. Couple of tablespoons of that. Mix it all together. Now I’ve mixed it all together I’m using a spatula to spread it out and just get it as flat
in the tray as possible. If you’ve got another tray
that you can put on top to kind of flatten it down
and get it nice and even that’s quite useful but I
don’t have one at the moment. All that remains is to
cover it with clingfilm, or plastic wrap if you’re from the States, and then leave it in the fridge overnight so that it kind of sets. Fortunately, here’s
some I prepared earlier. Wait, there’s none in
there, I don’t understand. This is how presenting
is supposed to work. Wait, let me get this straight, you’re saying I actually
have to make some earlier in order for there to be
some here’s I made earlier? Is that how it works? Guess we’re just going to have to wait. (mischievous orchestral music) (phone alarm ringing) Guess that means they’re ready. So I’ve got the rice mixture
out the fridge, it’s now set. And I’m going to cut it into
roughly 20 equal sized pieces. I’m just going to wing it
by eye ’cause I back myself. But, if you want to be really precise, you could get the tape measure out. I’m going to show you how to
wrap the individual rice cakes. And to do that, you need
parchment lined foil. Now, you can pick this
up from most supermarkets but you can use standard
foil without the parchment on the other side of it, I’ve
tried it, it doesn’t work. So I generally cut a section that’s about 15, 16 centimeters long, and then fold that in
two, cut that in half and each one of these
pieces is the ideal size for my rice cakes. (relaxed electronic music) Take your rice cake, put that
on the middle of the parchment and then you take the end, and you wrap it like you’d wrap a present. So you fold it all the
way to the end like that, and you take the other end, and you wrap that back over itself. And then you should have some excess and then with that you
fold that over, like this. To create this lip. And this lip is really
useful for opening the cake when it’s in your pocket. And also you can write on it as well to say what is in this
particular cake or package. Then just pinch the ends in like this, like a present. Flatten them down. And fold it back on itself. As mentioned, that is a basic recipe, a lot of the pros like salty savory ones with things like bacon and cheese in. You make them sweet, you can add nuts, you can add dried fruit
like dates and raisins, whatever floats your boat, go crazy. Now, I hope you’ve enjoyed this video and if you have, please
give it a thumbs up and share it with your friends. And if you’d like to head
over to the GCN shop, we’ve got these awesome
Alpe d’Huez T-shirts complete with Dutch Corner, nice. And even GCN musettes. And to watch another video about nutrition in the Grand Tours and
what pro riders eat, click on my musette.