May 17, 2024

The Giro d'Italia menu: what the pro riders eat

The Giro d'Italia like the other Grand Tours, the Tour de France and Vuelta a España, is extremely demanding on the athletes, three weeks of the hardest racing requires specific nutrition that both fuels the riders, and helps them to rest and recover.

In the past, athletes were often relegated to a monotonous diet of pasta and rice during races, or sometimes, they had to settle for whatever fare the hotel kitchen served up that evening. However, with the increasing recognition of the pivotal role nutrition plays in an athlete's performance, particularly during prolonged endurance events, professional cycling teams have embraced a more strategic approach to fueling. Nowadays, teams meticulously plan out meals for the entirety of the race and even arrange for their own catering at team hotels.

Will Girling, the EF Education-EasyPost team's dedicated nutritionist, offers insight into the carefully curated menu that accompanies our riders throughout the grueling stages of the 2024 Giro d'Italia. This glimpse into our riders' dietary regimen sheds light on the nourishing meals that power their extraordinary feats, day in and day out.


The first meal of the day, nutrition-wise, is extremely important for any bike race, especially ones that last three weeks.

Riders eat breakfast at least several hours before the stage starts, allowing plenty of time to digest their meal.

In general breakfasts are the same most days and offer a wide variety of options depending on how the riders feel and what they need for the day ahead.

Cereals, oats, pancakes, rice, bread, and berries are on offer as well as eggs, avocados and high-protein yogurt. The focus for the riders, and the nutrition team, is on full plates, plenty of protein and loads of lower-fiber, easy-to-digest carbohydrates to maintain energy through the day without making them feel heavy or bloated. The riders can load their plates with foods they know will suit them well for the stage ahead, eating enough to make them comfortably full.

Sample plates:

- Sourdough pancakes: Our team chef Owen Blandy often makes pancakes using a sourdough starter he keeps throughout the Tour in his catering truck. Thesew are topped with things like bananas and maple syrup.

- Omlets: Almost all of the riders take an omlet for breakfast, its a great source of protein and easy to digest. The riders have preferences on white to yolk ratio, fillings and how they are cooked. For example Rigoberto Uran takes 3 full eggs, salt, cooked ham and cheese, cooked medium rare. Alberto Bettiol takes 2 eggs, cooked medium, no pepper, sometimes a little ham & cheese.

- Steamed rice: Many riders also opt for this as a carbohydrate source over toast, oats or cereals because it’s easy to digest and low in fiber. Some add a couple of fried eggs and avocado for a little fat and protein.

- Fresh juice: To keep fiber low, riders bypass smoothies and stick to freshly-pressed juices, blended by the team chef with the fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs. Carrot + ginger, or a green juice made with spinach, kale, kiwi, apple and cucumber are rider favorites for being packed with critical nutrients and minerals without the bulk of whole or raw vegetables.

-Coffee: Are you even a cyclist if you don't like coffee? Most of the athletes start their day with an espresso, it's not just a quick pick-me-up, caffeine has been shown to help with endurance efforts too.


As soon as the riders finish the race, recovery fuelling begins. Meals are prepared and waiting for them in the team bus as riders have about an hour to start replacing the glycogen stores necessary to start the next stage strong. These meals are full of easy-to-digest, low-salt, carbohydrate-rich foods.

Sample plates:

Fresh pasta with simple proteins: Pasta tossed with a simple sauce and protein - usually fresh chicken, is the ideal type of meal to replenish riders. The balance of carbohydrates and proteins are just what the body requires – no complicated flavor combinations, or processed proteins here, just simple good food to start the recovery process.

- Protein and carb-focused snacks: Bars and shakes from the team's nutrition partner Amacx as well as yoghurts and cereal are all available on the bus for quick and effective refuelling.


Perhaps the most important meal of the day during the race, all the riders sit down together at the team hotel each night, as early as possible. The aim is to replenish their stores with plenty of time for digestion before getting a good sleep.

The dinner menu offers simple, fresh foods that are low in fiber, not too heavy but full of the carbohydrates, proteins and other nutrients needed to fuel the riders for the next day.

Unprocessed proteins are a must to boost recovery, along with soups, cooked vegetables and simple carbs. Cooked, easy to eat vegetables are included to provide micronutrients, while ensuring that riders have plenty of time to properly digest and eliminate the fiber before their systems are under the duress of the next stage.

Fresh pastas, noodles and rice with a light but flavor filled main course of steamed fish and roasted or grilled chicken for protein. If the riders have tackled a day in the mountains or if the day has been particularly grueling, a dessert is a sweet morale-boosting treat.

Sample plates:

- Simply-prepared proteins: Grilled or roasted chicken or steamed fish with light fresh sauces. Processed meats are avoided for their high sodium content. Red meat is offered on rest days to help with recovery.

- Easy to digest carbohydrates: Options like rice, mashed potatoes or pasta are always available on the buffet table.

- Soup: There's usually a fresh soup option on offer, these help with calming the digestive system, especially if a rider is struggling to eat. Soups are great for being low fiber while maintaining high vitamin and mineral intake.

- Steamed, grilled or roasted vegetables or a small salad: Larger salads can be very challenging to digest due to their high fiber content. Instead, riders load up on cooked vegetables or tender greens, easier to digest and assimilate but still packed full of nutrients. Beet salads are popular with the riders and nutrition team for their ability to reduce inflammation and boost recovery.

- For dessert: Nothing too heavy or full of overly processed sugars, fruit based desserts tend to be preferred. It's also a chance to get a little more protein in, with yogurt or crème fraîche on the side.

The 2024 Giro d'Italia menu for EF Education-EasyPost

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4