What’s in an EF Education First musette?

On-the-bike nutrition at the Tour de France

Staying properly fueled throughout a multi-week race like the Tour de France is both a science and an art. The snacks our riders get in their musettes are just one piece of the race-day nutrition puzzle, but they’re a very important one! 

First, what’s a musette?

Broadly, a musette is considered to be a small bag used for carrying food or personal belongings while hiking, traveling, cycling etc. In the world of professional bike racing, this bag contains food and water and is given to cyclists in a feed zone during a race. It has a long shoulder strap designed to be easily grabbed by a moving rider. 

When they’re finished taking food and bottles from a musette, riders drop the bag along the side of the road. Spectators gather near feeds zones for a chance to pick up the discarded musettes as souvenirs…

So what do riders find in their musettes during a race like the Tour de France?

According to team nutritionist, Nigel Mitchell, there’s a standard format for our riders’ musettes during races. The staff will sometimes alter the contents depending on stage length, difficulty and conditions, but the basic formula is this:

2X Rice cakes

2X Energy bars (we love these bars from Skratch Labs)

2X Gels (Maurten’s GEL 100 is our gel of choice)

1X Bottle of plain water

1X Bottle of hydration mix (this depends on how hot the weather is)

1X Special treat! Sometimes this is simply a banana, other times it could be a regional specialty or a rider’s favorite snack

It’s impossible to individualize musettes for each specific rider, so all the musettes we hand out in a particular feed zone contain the same snacks. Nigel and our soigneurs do, however, discuss the contents of the musettes with riders before races and will tweak them based on the team’s preferences.

Want an EF Education First team musette of your own? They’re made by Rapha and you can buy your own (if you can’t make it to a feed zone at the Tour de France) on Rapha’s website.