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Tammie R. Ebert, David T. Martin, Brian Stephens, Warren McDonald and Robert T. Withers

Purpose:

To quantify the fluid and food consumed during a men’s and women’s professional road-cycling tour.

Methods:

Eight men (age 25 ± 5 y, body mass ± 7.4 kg, and height 177.4 ± 4.5 cm) and 6 women (age 26 ± 4 y, body mass ± 5.6 kg, and height 170.4 ± 5.2 cm) of the Australian Institute of Sport Road Cycling squads participated in the study. The men competed in the 6-d Tour Down Under (Adelaide, Australia), and the women, in the 10-d Tour De L’Aude (Aude, France). Body mass was recorded before and immediately after the race. Cyclists recalled the number of water bottles and amount of food they had consumed.

Results:

Men and women recorded body-mass losses of ~2 kg (2.8% body mass) and 1.5 kg (2.6% body mass), respectively, per stage during the long road races. Men had an average fluid intake of 1.0 L/h, whereas women only consumed on average 0.4 L/h. In addition, men consumed CHO at the rate suggested by dietitians (average CHO intake of 48 g/h), but again the women failed to reach recommendations, with an average intake of ~21 g/h during a road stage.

Conclusions:

Men appeared to drink and eat during racing in accordance with current nutritional recommendations, but women failed to reach these guidelines. Both men and women finished their races with a body-mass loss of ~2.6% to 2.8%. Further research is required to determine the impact of this loss on road-cycling performance and thermoregulation.