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The Optimization of Sleep and Recovery



In the relentless pursuit of excellence, riders and coaches focus extensively on training, nutrition and equipment optimization. In cycling, where endurance, power and mental toughness are put to the test, the importance of adequate rest and recovery cannot be overstated. Tudor Pro Cycling decided to embrace the topic and looked for ways to optimize it. We took advantage of the first rest day of the Giro d'Italia to look into the topic.



13.05.2024


As the riders push their physical limits, whether during grueling climbs, time trials or high-intensity sprints, the body undergoes significant stress and fatigue. This is even more important in stage races, particularly during the three-week Grands Tours. It's during the recovery period that the magic happens – muscles repair and grow stronger, energy stores replenish, and the mind rejuvenates.


The pillars of recovery are sleep, nutrition and hydration (before, during and after exercise), as well as an excellent planning and quantifying of the training load. On top of that, riders have access to several secondary recovery tools, according to their preferences.


So, let’s start with the most important one: Sleep.



Sleep


"Sleep, alongside nutrition, is a fundamental component of how well the guys can recover between stages.” explained Team Coach James Spragg. “The amount of sleep is a little bit individual - some athletes need some sleep than others. However, all athletes need a minimum of eight hours per night. Below that the risk of illness almost doubles and recovery suffers.”


To ensure the riders to get the optimal quantity and quality of sleep, they have their own Blackroll Recovery Pillow. So does the staff. “Riders work hard but we often forget that you (staff members) work as hard,” said Raphael Meyer last Winter when offering the pillow and recovery set to all staff members during the training camp. “You have long days and it is crucial that you get the best sleep and recovery possible, too.”

“Riders work hard but we often forget that you (staff members) work as hard”
Tudor Pro Cycling Sleep Recovery Balckroll pillow

At big races such as the Giro d’Italia, the Recovery Base mattresses from Blackroll are also transported from hotel to hotel and replacing the hotel mattresses. For Florian Stork it is very beneficial to sleep on the same mattress every night: "It makes things less stressful, knowing that there is a proper mattress waiting at the hotel.”

 

“We also purify the air in the bedrooms,” continues James. “This ensures the athletes can get as much sleep as possible, wake up the least number of times and wake up feeling fresh and ready for the next day of racing."


Tudor Pro Cycling Giro Sleep Recovery Balckroll mattress
Tudor Pro Cycling Giro Sleep Recovery Balckroll mattress

Nothing is left to chance. Thats why the riders are sleeping with the Dagsmejan Recovery Pajamas. The revolutionary Nattrecover™ fabric feature responsive energizing mineral, which helps to oxygenate the muscles and to regulate body temperature.




Massage


Post-race massage is the preferred way for recovery optimisation by riders. It's a time for relaxation, but it's also a way of preventing functional problems such as lower back pain, neck pain, etc.

"This is my moment to relax, both physically and mentally"

Robin Froidevaux never misses his daily massage: "This is my moment to relax, both physically and mentally. I stay away from my phone during this time to make the most of this moment."


Tudor Pro Cycling Giro Sleep Recovery Massage Galius
Tudor Pro Cycling Giro Sleep Recovery Massage Christian Fischbacher Towel

A massage session lasts between 45 minutes and one hour per rider and is by definition made of a massage, mainly of the lower limbs and back. But osthepathy can also be done during such a session. The goal is to relax the soft tissues (fascias and muscles) and reduce the perception of muscular pain induced by physical effort. On top of that, it gives riders a perception of well-being.



Recovery Devices and Accessories


The team therapists regularly use the EME Polyter Evo device, a therapeutic and regenerative solution, in case of functional problems, localised pain and injuries. It uses a technology that releases heat using an electric current.



Tudor Pro Cycling Giro Sleep Recovery Massage Blackroll Fascia Gun


The Blackroll Fascia gun is a complementary tool, which uses vibratory techniques on the surface and is practical to optimize recovery during  long transfers between arrival points and hotels or to complement a massage.















The Blackroll recovery boots provide pressotherapy. It’s one of the compression techniques that improve vascularisation. It’s practical and most often used in the bus when returning to the hotel. It doesn't replace a massage - the objective is different - but it's a great complement too.


Tudor Pro Cycling Giro Sleep Recovery Massage Blackroll Recovery Boots

Riders also carry other Blackroll self-massage accessories in their suitcases, which are used in the bedrooms in the evening, such as the Recovery slopes and massage ball. Some riders also do some stretching in the evening and in the morning.


Tudor Pro Cycling Giro Sleep Recovery Massage Blackroll Recovery slopes

Interested in learning more about the Sleep and Recovery products we are using? Check our Partners' websites:

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