The NIPPO Vini Fantini Faizanè team has always promoted the introduction of method and professionalism within its team. The figure of the dietitian alongside the professional cycling teams is not something new, in fact the #OrangeBlue team has always been supported by professional figures to support the athletes. The novelty introduced at the 2019 Giro d’Italia was to support Dr. Erica Lombardi, a dietitian with 10 years of experience in cycling and stage races, for the entire duration of the Giro d’Italia, entrusting her with every daily detail of the feeding of the athletes. Breakfasts, supplies, recoveries, snacks, dinners and every moment linked to daily nutrition were followed and personalized for each #OrangeBlue athlete during each single day of the Giro.
THE IMPORTANCE OF FEEDING IN A GREAT TOUR.
The great added value for the team was not to delegate to the host structure or to a single chef following the team the implementation of the diet provided to the athletes but the presence of the dietician on site was structured in order to be able to immediate adapt the details and needs of nutrition to the individual stages, to the physiological conditions of the riders, to the climatic variations and even to the tactics of the race of the following day.
“The NIPPO Fantini Faizanè team has an innovative way of setting up a nutritional intervention that would cover the metabolic and dietary needs of each rider with the constant presence of the Dietitian throughout the day.” Dr. Erica Lombardi: “Working closely with the medical area to monitor the riders’ conditions, we were able to intervene promptly at any time to individually modulate the energy, macro and micronutrient needs of each athlete. The role of the Dietitian during the Giro as well as monitoring the body composition of the rider, formulating the menus, personally choosing the foodstuffs, controlling the quality, interfacing with the dining room staff and with the chef of the host location for the preparation of the buffet and dishes, is in particular to verify the compliance of the riders with the proposed diet which in the specific case of the team riders was total. Among the objectives of nutrition in the stage race, it was also relevant to reduce the onset of gastric disorders by modulating the intake of the fibers and using the “colors” of the food in a “functional” way (low-medium diet content of food maps).”
THE DIETICIAN IN THE “DAY BY DAY” OF GIRO. WEATHER, PHYSICAL CONDITIONS, TEAM STRATEGIES, ALL THE POSSIBILITIES TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION.
During the Giro d’Italia there are many variables that can motivate the variation of the riders nutrition. The big plus of the dietitian following the team was to have the possibility of adapting the riders’ nutritional intake daily: “Every menu (5000-6000 kcal / day)” still specifies Erica Lombardi “and every supply in terms of caloric content, of carbohydrates (ca 60- 90gCHO / h), fats and proteins, was elaborated based on the duration and altitude of the route (stage or stopwatch), the role of the runner (team technical race strategy), outside temperature. carbohydrates during the run and in the workout has been modulated also estimating the wattages to be sustained and supported in the race, with a theoretical estimate also of the glycogen reserves of each individual runner. ”
FEEDING IN THE REST DAY AND THE KEY FOODS USED BY THE TEAM.
Rest day for riders, not for the staff and even less for the Dietitian: “Nutrition becomes fundamental also on the rest day in a big tour” explains Dr. Erica Lombardi, “The goals are muscle recovery (more attention to the protein content), the recovery of glycogen stocks (carbohydrates but alternatives to pasta and rice), the intake of predominantly unsaturated fats (also due to the modulation of the sensation of hunger and the maintenance of hormonal balance), antioxidants (fruit and vegetables underneath also form of centrifuges) to counteract the negative effect of free radicals produced by strenuous exercise such as that of a 21-day stage race.”
Here some of the functional foods used by the team at #Giro:
Agave syrup, fruit syrup, meringues, ricotta, crepes, porridge, potatoes, rice, pasta, red beets, fish, beef, Greek yogurt, lactose-free cottage cheese, avocado, dried and dehydrated fruit, rusks vitaminized, tart without butter, kefir, cereals (amaranth, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, spelled).