Q&A with Wouter Ruchtie about nutrition

The education side of the Academy does not only stick to racing and/or on-the-bike matters. We also take pride in educating our talents in matters like nutrition. We spoke to CyclingLab’s Wouter Ruchtie, who aside from coaching some of our riders, is also the leader when it comes to the nutritional subjects within the team. 

What’s the working plan/process with a U23 rider when it comes to improving their nutrition strategy and knowledge?
The plan that we follow is an evidence-based approach. This means that what we do is scientifically proven, based on experience and we try to educate the riders in this process. In this whole process, we hope to ensure that our U23 riders not only follow a strict plan but also think about the (race) nutrition themselves. We started this winter with some educational webinars, and the riders had a meeting with our sponsor Amacx. This both to ensure the knowledge was on point and they understand a bit more of the background of the current nutrition strategies. 

What are the most important things that you/CyclingLab want to achieve during this whole process?
The most important part of race nutrition is the carbohydrate intake per hour. We try to maximize this at 90 grams/hour. However, we don’t only focus on the carbohydrates but also on the combination of products to ensure no gastrointestinal problems occur. We, therefore, have different plans the riders can make use of during the race. For instance, the riders 3 strategies to reach the 90grams/h but they have to choose between the bars, gels, and bottles for themselves. It’s only during the race (and high-intensity training) that our riders train at 90gram/h, in combination with the performance coach the riders also train at different amounts of carbohydrates during different training sessions. In this, I’m also very happy that we now have 2 diets at our team that also make sure that the diet of our riders is also spot on before and after the races/training.

How does this whole testing process affect (positively) the rider’s development?
The main goal for me as a race nutritionist is to achieve the optimal performance outcome on race day. By having our nutrition spot on we ensure that our riders can excel at the decisive moments of the race, or have their nutrition support the wished outcome of their training.