Philippe Gilbert spots curious info-strip on Tadej Pogacar's bike: "This item is so important and compelling that it really deserves to be explored in more depth"

Although Tadej Pogacar was unable to win Milano-Sanremo last weekend, finishing third behind Jasper Philipsen and Michael Matthews, the Slovenian's bike was adorned with a very curious strip of information that was designed to help him during the race.

The strip shows thirteen different sections of the race broken down into colour-coded feed zones, notable climbs and reminders to drink at certain times. “Here is an example of a theoretical nutrition plan for Tadej Pogacar in Milano-Sanremo," said Eurosport correspondent and Classics legend, Philippe Gilbert, posting an image of the strip to his official X (Twitter) account.

Clearly very interested in this fascinating discovery, Gilbert wants to know more about Pogacar's in-depth, on-bike notes. "This item is so important and compelling," the Belgian continues. "It really deserves to be explored in more depth."

Seeing this, HLN decided to dive in further and approached UAE Team Emirates' nutrition specialist, Gorka Prieto-Bellver. "It does not contain any major internal kitchen secrets,” says the Spaniard. “First and foremost, we don't use these strips all the time and everywhere. Only for heavy and long races and especially in classic Monuments. Depending on the nature and difficulty of the race and tailored to his specific status, task or goal, each rider receives a personalized 'water bottle schedule'.”

“The strip perfectly indicates which of the caregivers will be ready where and when exactly with which type of drinking bottle(s). The X's and H2O's refer to the doses - 30, 60 or 90 grams - of carbohydrates in the bottle," continues the nutritionist. "Those who have to go 'all the way' need more carbohydrates. Riders who, so to speak, only have to follow the peloton, take less. The colours indicate the people who administer them.”

“Eating on time is super important. If a rider fails to do this, it can seriously disrupt his plans and thwart the intended ambitions. Although he is regularly reminded of this by the team leaders in the support vehicle, the strip serves as a clear 'reminder'," Prieto-Bellver concludes. "Then, if he wants to take it, it's up to him . It is not binding, he does what he wants with it. I mean, it could well be that he still has a water bottle in the holder and doesn't need it right away. After the race, we meticulously analyze what and how much the rider has eaten and how much energy he has used. We will continue to work with that information for the next races.”

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