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The Tour de France Is the Ultimate Test of Eating Endurance

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Professional sports generally, and endurance sports in particular, require a skill or gift that not everyone can master: the ability to ingest enormous quantities of food and drink rapidly and without complaint, vomiting, or indigestion. During non-competition periods the athletes can carefully select their meals for nutrition and taste -- but when competition starts, they often have to resort to literally shoveling in any calories they can get their hands on.

Why gluten free?

Competitors in the 2,200-mile bike race are advised to take in between 6,000 and 9,000 calories a day (they can burn up to 1,000 per hour). For reference: that's 10 pints of Ben and Jerry's Cookie Dough Ice Cream; 23 McDonalds Filet-O-Fish Sandwiches; 90 individual containers of Chobani Blackberry Greek Yogurt; or 15 12-inch Frito Chicken Enchilada Melts from Subway.

Just in case you're wondering, the average "moderately active" male aged 26-30 should take in 2,600 calories per day and a female 2,000 according to the U.S.D.A.

To accommodate these unusual dietary habits, teams have their own personal chefs — Sean Fowler has been documenting the gluten-free diet he prepares for theGarmin Sharp Cycling Team on Twitter and it's amazing — as well as specialized support vehicles that trail them, handing out energy bars and snacks while they're riding. 

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