What happens in a feed zone and how do riders fuel during cycling  stage races?
How to Fuel

What Happens in the Feed Zone?

While watching the Tour de France, you may notice the jersey-donning support staff strewn down the road at certain points. They look like big fans of the sport with bright bags, but they’re a lot more vital to the riders than that – these are the soigneurs. They have little fabric bags (musettes) ready for their riders to snag. Why? This is the Feed Zone.

The Feed Zone

The Feed Zone is a designated area where riders are able to receive food, fluids, and nutritional support from their staff.

Teams will allocate a couple of staff members to hand out up to 9 musettes for the riders to grab. These are stocked full of goodies for them to take on board for the remaining part of the stage. The musettes may be full of bars, gels, homemade snacks, and bottles. .

While they can grab bottles from a team car or neutral motorcycle, this is the place to get most of their fueling needs. It can become a lot harder to get anything more than a bottle later in the stage. Feed zones may be a bit dicey when you have a whole peloton trying to grab these bags but there is an unspoken rule for riders to ease up when going through a Feed Zone.

What’s in the bag?

As mentioned above, this is usually where teams will stock up on food and fuel. They’ll have rice cakes, sandwiches, bars, gels, and more. This is a three-week race and keeping food interesting is key. If you thought these riders just ate gels all day, you’d be wrong…but you’d also be mistaken if you thought they had full-on meals.

1. Hydration and Fuel Bottles

Riders will get two bottles in their musette bag.

Hydrate Bottle: The first bottle is electrolyte hydration, and Tour leader Tadej is getting Enervit Isotonic Drink Mix.

Fuel Bottle: The second bottle is for high-carb fueling, and if you are Geraint Thomas on Ineos, you are getting SiS Beta Fuel with 80g of carbs per bottle.

P.S. We have a new product that has become very popular called the Hydrate & Fuel Pack. You should check it out.

2. Gels & Chews

Gels are enormous at the Tour de France, with many riders consuming dozen(s) during the most demanding stages.

If you are on team EF you are getting the new Neversecond™ C30 Energy Gel.

If you are Tom Pidcock on Ineos you might be lucky and find one of the tastiest “chews” on the market. The new SIS Beta Fuel Chews that I’m a bit addicted to this summer.

3. Bars & Solid Food

Lucky riders might find a small treat from a local patisserie, the soigneurs from each team are known for raiding all the pastry each morning from the patisserie in the start town.

While a pastry is a refreshing treat, the most popular new bar in the Tour de France is the Maurten SOLID which packs 44g of carbs and is very easy to eat and digest mid-race.

While Maurten only sponsors Chris Froome’s Israel - Premier Tech team, we know of at least six teams using the Maurten SOLID Bar at this year’s Tour de France.

4. Ketones

Many teams will also get a “shot” of a Ketone Drink. For sure, the riders on Quickstep are all getting KetoneAid, as that is their new team sponsor. Others are using DeltaG, originally developed at Oxford University.

Ketones are an additional fuel tank for the riders providing two advantages during the stage.

First, it helps them burn a mixture of carbs and ketones as fuel, helping them preserve more carbs (i.e., glycogen for later in the race).

Second, the Ketone Esters help the riders stay focused even when exhausted. Ketones are the brain’s preferred fuel source, and boosting mental acuity at the end of the challenging stage can make the difference between crashing and winning the stage.

Why have a feed zone?

These riders are burning anywhere from 4,000-6,000 calories per day, for 21 days. With high carbohydrate fueling protocols, hot July weather, and super light kits, they can’t possibly carry all their nutrition in three tiny pockets. The feed zone gives them a chance to run light, carry what they need, and keep moving forward.

Your Feed Zone

Like a personal soigneur, The Feed is the online version of a feed zone. You can browse all the top brands that are fueling the best riders in the world and pick through exactly what you want, what flavor you want it in, and how many you want.

It makes refining your fueling strategy flexible and simple. Check out our daily TdF product highlights to discover products used by the Pros.


Avatar Carson Beckett

Carson Beckett / Tuesday, July 12, 2022