keeping cool tdf style

Thursday 25th July 2019

It's been very very hot. If you're training in this heat, either you used to live on the Sun and are used to these temperatures or you carry with you a mobile air-conditioning unit when you're exercising! It's best in these weather conditions to get out in the early morning when it's cooler, as we're typing this, it's still 32C and it's early evening! If there is a group of sports people in the world who have the best ideas how to keep cool and hydrated are endurance athletes and it just so happens that the TdF riders have been spotted putting a few of those ideas into practice... (credit to 2019 Tour de France and ASO for content/photos)

The peloton in this year’s Tour de France have been dealing with extraordinary heat this week as their journey across France has coincided with that of a heatwave. With near-record Tour temperatures of nearly 60C on the road over the past few days, and estimated heights of 35C for today’s mammoth Queen stage, here is a look at the weird and wonderful ways that the pro’s have been keeping cool.

1. Ice vests


Long gone are the days of shoving ice cubes into a pair of tights, World Tour riders now use specially designed ice vests during warm-ups to ensure their body temperature is controlled before a stage.

2. Bidons, and lots of them


Whilst it may come as no surprise that a rider will make their way through numerous bottles throughout a stage, some teams prepared for riders to smash through up to 10 bottles a day throughout the heatwave. That’s a lot of potential pee stops.

3. Keeping a cool head, quite literally


Lotto-Soudal’s riders were even spotted trying to slot ice cubes into the air vents on their helmets in an attempt to keep their heads cool.

4. Get into a breakaway


Whilst attacking and spending most of the day off the front of the peloton may seem a ridiculous idea to most, that was exactly the plan of stage winner Thomas de Gent. There may be method in the madness though, as riders up the road have access to unlimited bottles from their team car and won’t have to wait for domestiques to make their way through to gruppetto and back.

5. Bottle carrying


With most teams having 9 riders in the bunch, domestiques have the grueling tasks of making their way back to the team car to stuff as many bidons down their jersey as possible before having to ride back to their teammates. If you thought getting a round-in at the pub was bad, you should try this!

6. Water baths


Squirting water down your front and the back of your neck may be one of the oldest tricks in the book but it appears to remain effective for the pros. Just make sure it’s water and not energy drink otherwise you may make things worse by becoming hot and sticky.

7. Teamwork


Like in everything in the Tour de France, riders efforts will be centered around the interests of one or two leaders. This doesn’t change on a hot day so you’ll often see domestiques handing giving up their much needed water bottles to GC hopefuls or sprinters. 

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