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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?

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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. 

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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.

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  • Ph. Gruber
  • Ph. Gruber