Tour de France cyclists burn 8,000 calories a day during the three-week bike race each July. And so, the cyclists have to continually eat during the day to keep their energy levels up
— even when they’re on the bike.
That’s why you often see pictures of the riders eating mini doughnuts, scarfing down banana and eating sandwiches while travelling at ultrafast speeds, according to Bon Appetit.
Each of the cyclists try to eat 200 calories an hour during the race, though they eat even more if they’re at a harder stage. They consume quick-digesting carbohydrates, such as fruits and refined grains, and their food is often stuffed in the back pocket of their jersey.
But the main thing these cyclists are usually eating while racing? Rice cakes.
“We rely on them,” Henrik Orre, chef for Britain’s Team Sky premier professional cycling team, told Bon Appetit.
Orre is a former head chef of Mathias Dahlgren, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Stockholm. For his team, Orre makes a dense, moist version of the traditional rice cake.
His version is composed of cooked rice, cinnamon, cream cheese or almond butter, and a bit of agave. The chef mixes these ingredients together, pressed in a pan and chilled, and then cuts them into squares. They are then wrapped in tin foil.
“They’re the best thing to eat on the bike because you don’t have to chew much,” Orre said. “Just swallow it down with a bit of water and you’re fine.”
The chef rotates nearly a dozen different flavours, though apple and raisin is popular, as is almond butter and banana. He makes several different kinds each day, and the riders grab a handful at the beginning of each race.
The cyclists also grab another five or six when they hit the Feed Zone, which is the race’s snack time midway through the day.
“They aim to eat one piece every half hour throughout a five or six hour ride,” Orre said.
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