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On Your Bike: the 8000–Calorie Tour de France Diet

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On Your Bike: the 8000–Calorie Tour de France Diet

The Tour de France is the most gruelling cycling endurance event in the world and the number of calories each of the 198 cyclists has to consume per day as part of their Tour de France diet, is equally intimidating – up to 8000 (the average recommended daily amount for males is 2500). The legendary race, which this year takes place from 2 to 24 July covers over 2000 miles in 23 days. There are 21 stages in total this year: nine flats, nine mountain stages, two time trials and one hilly stage. And guess what, just two rest days. No wonder the Tour de France diet is so extreme.

Let’s put the energy expenditure of these super-athletes into perspective and check out the 2016 route below:

25 million 

Total calories burnt by all the riders over 21 stages.

6000 to 8000 

Calories burnt per day by each rider.


Grams of carbohydrate consumed by each rider per day on average.


Number of bananas each rider would have to consume each day to roughly meet energy expenditure; or around 30 jelly doughnuts.


Number of litres of water a day consumed by each rider.

Diet Plan

Below is a sample Tour de France diet plan (via Cycling Weekly) and at the bottom you’ll find a video of Norwegian journalist Nikolay Ramm very foolishly attempting to consume an entire day’s Tour de France diet in one sitting.

WARNING: it doesn’t end well and there are scenes of vomiting.

Breakfast (around three hours before the race)

Bread, muesli, cereal, fruit, coffee, smoothies, orange juice and pasta or noodles.

Pre-race snack

Rice cakes with honey, raisin bread or sports bars, plus fluid.

During the race

Small rolls with jam, rice cakes, energy bars and gels, and electrolyte drinks.

Post-race recovery

Recovery drinks, sandwiches, rich cakes and cereal bars.


Salad, soup or juice followed by meat or fish and carbohydrate-rich foods, and homemade cakes, yoghurt, fruit and flans for dessert.

Lights out

Small cakes, fruit, nuts and cereals.

This is how legendary swimmer Michael Phelps ate his way to Olympic glory

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