Nutrition for the Tour of Italy


Road cycling is undoubtedly the worlds most physically demanding sport. One day races in Europe can cover distances in excess of 280kms (150 miles) with routine temperatures in excess of 30-35oC. These races take professional riders around 6 hours but to stand a chance of victory riders will need to sustain power outputs of around 450 watts, and produce in excess of 1600 watts in sprint finishes. Stage races such as the Tour De France, Tour of Italy and Tour of Spain require such efforts to be consistently repeated over three weeks of racing. At these events there is also the added physiological stress of climbing 2,500m mountain passes an the associated effects of altitude.

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The Elite Sports Group (ESG) are experts at coping with the physiological and psychological challenges of cycling, be that a ‘Grand tour’, Etape De Tour, or a local sportive. These include attaining and sustaining high absolute power outputs for time trials, increasing relative power outputs to improve climbing ability and increasing maximum power outputs for sprinting. We also have a range of cycling nutrition interventions which make training more efficient by increasing the speed at which the body adapts. In practical terms this provides greater performance gains for the same training effort, which our clients find extremely beneficial, especially those with limited time to train. Even for athletes with unlimited time training our programs allow athletes to attain a higher level of race performance. We utilise a range of interventions that are scientifically proven to increase maximum oxygen uptake (VO2 max), sustainable percent of VO2 max, 5 minute power and sprint power.

In 2009 and 2010 ESG applied its knowledge of cycling physiology, nutrition and sports medicine, working direct with the world beating Cervelo Test Team. This helped the men’s Cervelo Team to have the most successful debut season in recent history. They were world ranked No.1, finishing 3rd overall at the Tour of Italy, winning the Tour De France Green Jersey. In 2009 the Cervelo Test Team were the only UCI Pro-Continental team to take stage wins at the tours of Italy, France and Spain. This provides evidence of the effectiveness of ESG’s advanced athlete recovery programs, which are at the cutting edge of nutrition, physiology and sports medicine.

The extra-ordinary achievements of the Cervelo men’s team did not eclipse those of the women, who also worked with ESG to achieve a comparable level of success. In 2009 the women’s Cervelo women team were UCI ranked world No.1 and won the women’ World Time Trial Championship with Kristin Armstrong. In 2010 they were again ranked world No. 1 by the UCI, but this time winning the the World Time Trial Championships with Emma Pooley.

ESG supplied nutrition services to the Geox TMC team in 2011. This small Italian registered Pro Continental Cycling Team was able to fight off the might of the combined efforts of Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and the Sky team to win the 2011 Tour of Spain (Vuelta). In 2011 ESG also started working on improving Janez Brajkovic’s training and race nutrition. After previously finishing 43rd in the 2010 Tour De France, Jani finished finish 9th overall in 2012, his best ever performance. Less than two weeks later Jani went on to finish 10th in the Olympic Time Trial.

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