Coachcast Ep 8 Title Card

Behind the Scenes of Tour de France Nutrition with Iñigo San Millán

BY TrainingPeaks CoachCast Host Dirk Friel

Discover how elite nutrition strategies from the Tour de France can help boost your cycling performance through insights from a WorldTour coach.

In this special episode for the Tour de France, Iñigo San Millán, a performance coach for top-ranked UAE Team Emirates, shares his expertise on how race-day nutrition is meticulously planned and adjusted using race data from TrainingPeaks.

We’ll discuss the critical differences in fueling demands for various stages of the Tour, the importance of individualized nutrition strategies, and why maintaining weight and muscle health is crucial for rider performance. From pre-race breakfasts to post-race recovery with tart cherry juice, this episode is packed with pro-level insights that even amateur athletes can leverage.

Standout Quotes

The Power of Education Even at WorldTour Levels: “I think this is a huge achievement, I would say, that we had on the team in the performance department. Educating riders about nutrition and educating them about the meaning of nutrition. The why, and the need for accounting what they’re having.”

Why There’s a Need to Keep Riders Fueled with Specificity: “The moment a cyclist in the Tour de France enters a catabolic state, it’s game over. You start losing more muscle weight and muscle mass. Also, you’re getting to a point where you cannot store glycogen properly. So you might increase carbohydrates, but you cannot store them completely because you have muscle damage. And when you have muscle damage, you can’t store glycogen properly. So, you might store it in fat or retain liquid because it’s associated with glycogen that hasn’t been stored intracellularly in the muscles.”

“I started recommending 80 to a 100 grams per hour, in 2005, 2006 and [was] already doing it. And people were laughing at me and and just thinking “This guy is crazy, this is impossible.”” Now the guidelines are already talking about 90 grams per hour.”

The Evolution of Performance and Nutrition

The Importance of Nutrition Training: “The thing is that it is very important the type of carbohydrates that you have and the timing, right, and the combination of how you do that. This is why you need to train; you need to combine things and also individualize it.”

“Now we [have] taken it to the next level where we can identify if a rider has burned 500 grams [of carbs] versus another one who has burned 800 or 1000. It’s not the same, the one who’s been in the break the whole day versus the one who has always been on the front or versus the one who was in the front in the first part of the race, and then he’s been in the bus — that’s the cycling bus, the peloton. So that’s what we can calculate because if you have the standardized nutrition for everybody, then you’re going to see what what we’ve been seeing for years. Some riders gain weight; other riders lose weight. And it was not it was not rare to see riders losing two or three kilos.”

Dr. Iñigo San Millán Online

Team UAE-Emirates

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Coachcast Host Dirk Friel
About TrainingPeaks CoachCast Host Dirk Friel

Dirk Friel is the host of the TrainingPeaks CoachCast and Co-Founder of TrainingPeaks. He is a lifelong athlete with a passion for cycling and ski mountaineering and firmly believes in goal setting, dedicated deliberate training and coaching for all. Learn more about his work at TrainingPeaks and follow his adventures on Instagram @dirkfriel.

Visit TrainingPeaks CoachCast Host Dirk Friel's Coach Profile