What number of energy will the Tour de France winner burn?

Jumbo-Visma team's Belgian rider Wout Van Aert cycles to the finish line during the first stage of the 109th edition of the Tour de France cycling race in Copenhagen, Denmark, on July 1, 2022.

Enlarge / Jumbo-Visma workforce’s Belgian rider Wout Van Aert cycles to the end line in the course of the first stage of the 109th version of the Tour de France biking race in Copenhagen, Denmark, on July 1, 2022. (credit score: Thomas Samson/Getty)

Think about you start pedaling from the beginning of Stage 12 of this 12 months’s Tour de France. Your very first job can be to bike roughly 20.6 miles (33.2 km) as much as the height of Col du Galibier within the French Alps whereas gaining round 4,281 toes (1,305 m) of elevation. However that is solely the primary of three huge climbs in your day. Subsequent you face the height of Col de la Croix de Fer after which finish the 102.6-mile (165.1-km) stage by taking over the well-known Alpe d’Huez climb with its 21 serpentine turns.

On the fittest day of my life, I won’t even have the ability to end Stage 12—a lot much less do it in something remotely near the 5 hours or so the winner will take to complete the trip. And Stage 12 is only one of 21 levels that have to be accomplished within the 24 days of the tour.

I’m a sports activities physicist, and I’ve modeled the Tour de France for almost 20 years utilizing terrain information—like what I described for Stage 12 – and the legal guidelines of physics. However I nonetheless can not fathom the bodily capabilities wanted to finish the world’s most well-known bike race. Solely an elite few people are able to finishing a Tour de France stage in a time that’s measured in hours as a substitute of days. The explanation they’re capable of do what the remainder of us can solely dream of is that these athletes can produce monumental quantities of energy. Energy is the speed at which cyclists burn power and the power they burn comes from the meals they eat. And over the course of the Tour de France, the profitable bike owner will burn the equal of roughly 210 Huge Macs.

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