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The British super team released insider documents to the BBC that show Froome’s diet, watts and thoughts over the three weeks from Jerusalem to Rome.
Froome, 33, became the first British rider to win the Italian grand tour. He had crashed twice early on, but rode consistently over three weeks and launched a lethal attack in stage 19, over the Finestre, to take the race lead.
In the files handed over in June, planned power numbers in the 19th stage and carbohydrate consumption were listed. Froome aimed for 400 watts over one hour on the Colle delle Finestre.
The Brit wrote coach Tim Kerrison, who was at a training camp with Sky’s other stars including Geraint Thomas, the morning of the 19th stage. He had trailed by 3:22 minutes.
“There is still much more of this race to play out” and “nothing is impossible,” Froome wrote.
“I’d like to try to make Finestre as selective as possible and even try get away from that GC group.”
Team Sky dropped Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), the race leader over the previous 13 days, and Froome launched an 80.3-kilometer attack. But the amount of planning that went into it backed up just how meticulous Froome and Sky are in the world of cycling.
They split the stage into seven phases. He averaged 603 watts for 16 seconds when he accelerated away from his rivals. He held 401 watts for 24 minutes and averaged 150 bpm the climb. In the first 40 minutes, sitting in the wheels, he rode at 408 watts
On the last climb to Jafferau, where he won the stage and took the pink jersey that he would wear when the race finished in Rome, the numbers were lower.
Over 25 minutes, he put out 392 watts. That was short of the 450-watt aim that they had planned but enough to maintain a healthy gap to Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) for the overall and eventual win.
The energy for the historical ride was well controlled. His breakfast included 1000 calories, made up of 400 grams of rice, an omelet with three whites and one yolk, and four pancakes with jam. During the ride: 14 energy gels along, two bottles of SIS Beta Fuel drink and four plain rice cakes. He consumed 2348 calories, but the result proved it necessary.
He added on the same number of calories after the race by drinking a recovery mix, a smoothie, eating rice, and Haribo. A 1000-calorie diet followed with more rice and salmon. The day allowed him to defend the lead on stage 20 and ride into Rome victorious on stage 21.
The weight loss program underlines how far Sky and Froome pushed it. Froome not only aimed to be well-fuelled, but to lose weight while riding a demanding Giro d’Italia so that he would come out ready for June and an attempt at the Tour de France in July. It is nothing new for Team Sky with their training camps that combine intensive training with weight loss.
Instead of holding his weight or gaining over three weeks, Froome aimed to lose weight in the first two weeks to hit his perfect 65kg weight for the final three mountain stages.
In that theme, on stage 11 –a 159km rolling stage won by Simon Yates on a punchy uphill finish – Froome pushed the limit with a minimal calorie consumption. He ate 2566 calories over the day, including an omelet and a small glass of juice.
Froome’s diet from stage 11 of the race shows the relatively small amount of food that he was eating at this point. He took on 2566 calories but produced 3635kJ – a total deficit. Something that he did regularly in the first two weeks.
The result: He won the Giro on May 27 in Rome, but left it ready to face the Tour de France with form still improving toward the start on July 7 in Vendée.