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Here's what Tour de France riders are eating for dinner

There’s no Coco-pops here.

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Daniel McMahon / Business Insider

by Daniel McMahon at the Tour De France

PRO CYCLISTS ARE some of the fittest athletes on the planet, and eating right is critical to their performance. Take the riders in the Tour de France, who are challenged over a gruelling 21-stage race mentally and physically in one of sport’s hardest tests, pedalling 2,200 miles around France over extreme terrain and in extreme temperatures.

Even eating becomes a task after a number of days because they have to eat so much, and the food has to be healthy, fresh, and tasty.

So what do the world’s best bike racers eat? We got a look at America’s Cannondale-Drapac team after its nine riders safely completed stage one at Utah Beach in Normandy.

Here’s what they had for dinner, which was prepared by the team’s very own chefs, Sean Fowler and Olga Belenko, a couple who travel to the major races with the team throughout the year:

First, there is juice. It has four ingredients: beetroot, fennel, carrot, and cucumber. The drink is served with an appetiser, both of which are placed on the table ready to eat so that when the hungry riders show up there is zero waiting.

first-there-is-juice-it-has-four-ingredients-beet-fennel-carrot-and-cucumber-the-drink-is-served-with-an-appetizer-both-of-which-are-placed-on-the-table-ready-to-eat-so-that-when-the-hungry-riders-show-up-there-i Source: Daniel McMahon/Business Insider

Personally, I don’t like beetroot, but Olga told me it didn’t have a strong beet flavour. She offered me a glass, and it tasted more like carrot, and I liked it. The riders were each poured a modest glassful to go with their appetiser …

personally-i-dont-like-beets-but-olga-told-me-it-didnt-have-a-strong-beet-flavor-she-offered-me-a-glass-and-it-tasted-more-like-carrot-and-i-liked-it-the-riders-were-each-poured-a-modest-glassful-to-go-with-their Source: Daniel McMahon/Business Insider

Then came the appetiser — salmon tartare. It also had four ingredients: salmon, avocado, cucumber, and pickle. Nothing else added. Olga and Sean prepare the riders’ food in their mobile kitchen and bring it to the hotel dining room. The food is always fresh, purchased locally, and made according to the riders’ preferences.

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The healthy fat and saltiness from the avocado and salmon give the tartare lots of flavour.

the-healthy-fat-and-saltiness-from-the-avocado-and-salmon-give-the-tartare-lots-of-flavor Source: Daniel McMahon/Business Insider

Here’s Olga after preparing the salmon tartare. Note there are nine plates, one for each rider on the team.

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The opening stages of this Tour de France are taking place in Normandy, along the northern coast by the English Channel. The riders have a good view from their dining table each day for breakfast and dinner…

the-opening-stages-of-this-tour-de-france-are-taking-place-in-normandy-along-the-northern-coast-by-the-english-channel-the-riders-have-a-good-view-from-their-dining-table-each-day-for-breakfast-and-dinner-

Breakfast for stage one was served at 9am, and dinner for the riders was served at 9:30pm. As with most teams, the riders ate right after the stage once they got on the bus and before the one-hour drive home from the finish.

Cannondale-Drapac riders eat rice with some sort of protein, such as tuna, salmon, or chicken. It’s all prepared and waiting for them in their seats once they get on the bus, so there is zero waiting time to eat.

We didn’t get back from the race until after 7, so the riders went straight to massage for an hour before eating dinner. (They had already showered on the bus.)

- Daniel McMahon

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