How do our riders dress for a race? What do they eat and what do they take with them during the race? With Stybar's Etixx – Quick-Step's race kit at the Milan-Sanremo, we're beginning a series of blogs about the kits our riders use during the best races on the international calendar.
After I put all the stuff I'm for tomorrow's race on my bed, well... I became quite surprised with the number of things that I'm taking with me to the Ligurian Riviera. Fortunately, the weather at this edition will be good, so we won't have to deal with rain jackets and stuff like that. Everything will stay in our rain bag on the team car which will follow the race. Tomorrow I'm definitely setting out with leg and arm warmers and with a vest over the racing jersey. A lot will depend on the temperature, but I will probably wear an under helmet and heavy gloves, at least for the first hour of the race until we get out of Milan.
In my pockets I will definitely have a radio, the map with the altimetry of the route and most of the nutrition I'll be using tomorrow. In a race as long as Sanremo it's incredible how many calories you burn, around 5500. In the first hours of the race I usually eat rice cakes prepared by our masseurs; then, in the middle part I eat Etixx bars. My favourites are the lemon and raspberry flavoured ones, but I have to say I like them all! In the mousette at the feedzone I usually look for some bars, maybe some fruits and a mini Coca Cola. I hardly ever eat sandwiches in a race. For the final, when things get serious and there's no more time to eat, I have a gel. They are excellent, and they help us keep up our energy in the finale. The Cola and grapefruit gels are some of my favourites.
This year I hope things will turn out differently compared to last year, when our dreams of glory were quashed on a curve as we were coming off of the Poggio. I like this race because tactically everything is decided in a fraction of a second. From the Cipressa to via Roma passing over the Poggio, it's a race rode in apnoea, in which the timing of every move is fundamental. It's going to be a lot of fun!
Photo credit: ©BrakeThrough Media