Five months have passed since Rohan Dennis abandoned the Tour de France in mysterious circumstances, climbing off the bike seemingly without cause during stage 12, the day before the race’s major time trial.
As we approach the final stages of the 2014 Tour de France, I thought it would be interesting to share what a standard day on a Grand Tour is like for the riders.
First thing in the morning after waking up we receive our daily program. This gives a rundown of when you need to be at breakfast, have your gear ready to go, what time your race meal is, and when you need to leave. As well, it updates us on how far away the start of the day’s stage is, the distance of the stage, and how far the following hotel is from the finish line.
I have been rooming with Svein Tuft throughout the Tour, we both like a good coffee in the morning, so we are in the habit of grinding some beans first up to make a nice strong brew to fill the thermos to take down to breakfast. Our teammate Michael Albasini owns his own coffee company, so we have been spoiled for access to quality coffee this season!
For breakfast many of the guys like to have pasta or rice, I prefer to have a big bowl of bircher muesli and a three-egg omelette with ham and cheese. We are lucky enough to have a great chef on tour with us, so I get that all with some nice fresh bread he whips up each morning.
From there it is back up to the room to get everything prepared to leave the hotel. I like to work to a strong routine everyday, so will go through a little ritual of stretches after breakfast to really activate my body each morning.
From there it is onto the team bus. Myself, Svein Tuft and Simon Clarke like to bunker down at the back; this makes for some good banter and also lets us get some music cranking on the way to the start line.
When we arrive at the start of the stage we have our race meeting; this is a rundown of the stage, where the feed zones are, and any risks we can expect during the stage.
From there we get changed, and sign on for the day. I am usually more of a late sign on myself, so I get in just before the start of the race. I leave the bus, go to the start, sign on, and then it is straight to the start of the race.
Following the stage, after you have rolled across the finish line, you are directed straight to the bus where you get a good injection of protein and carbohydrates. This means protein shakes with some pasta, rice or muesli to get the recovery really rolling along.
After a quick shower it is down the back of the bus to get your legs up and watch a movie on the trip back to the hotel. For the past few stages coming into Stage 16 we have been getting through some Star Wars post race – it’s not hard to find a Return of the Jedi fan in the Orica-GreenEDGE team!
When we arrive the hotel it is straight in to see the masseurs. I like to jump in the ice bath straight after my massage before ducking down for dinner.
Following that our chef tees us up some amazing dinner. Unlike breakfast, which are always so well structured, we get to look forward to a good variety of food for dinner each night.
Before bed we get a little bit of time to catch up on what’s happening outside of the Tour de France bubble, so I do my best to catch up with some friends and family.
But before you know it, it’s time to shut down for the day and get ready to do it all again tomorrow.