16 Jul 2019
What pro riders do during a TDF Rest day
Cycling? Sleeping? Watching TV? How is the typical rest day of a pro rider during a Grand Tour?
The first important difference compared to the other race days is that the alarm clock is not set to go off in the morning. The rest day is dedicated to a relaxing workout, massages, napping and scouting out the next stage.
After a big block of races, riders need a physical and mental recovery.
Physically, the rest day means day off. Riders spent it with one-hour of low-intensity easy riding, usually in the morning. That is then followed by a coffee break with teammates; a long break that can help with team bonding.
Riders also make sure to catch up on sleep in the afternoon for at least one hour and then eating some high-quality food not containing any rice! A rest day is different for each rider, but in general there should be a big reduction in intensity and a moderate reduction in total volume. Riders enjoy long massage sessions and stretching their legs.
Mentally, riders want to pack in some quality time with their families or girlfriends, puppies and friends. Some riders also spend a portion of their day in front of the journalists answering questions.
Obviously, the key to a rest day is to relax. The length of an intense period of racing will have a big effect on mental recovery demands. At least until the day after, when riders are ready to get back to work for another stage.