The ketone esters market has received its annual publicity boost as a performance and recovery aid for pro cyclists competing in the world’s toughest and most famous bike race – the just-completed and COVID-19-rescheduled three-week-long Tour de France.
The strongest team in the race, Netherlands-based Jumbo-Visma, was the only team to go on the record about using ketone esters.
Its Slovenian leader and second-place finisher Primož Roglič stated somewhat ambiguously in a mid-race press conference: “Yeah, we are still using it. For the real effects, it’s really hard to say. It’s hard to feel it.”
Teams are obviously not going to shout about it if ketone esters are indeed producing significant performance gains.
However, ketone ester suppliers spoken to by NutritionInsight reckon more than half the 22 team Tour de France peloton uses them for training, in-race 'glycogen sparing' gains and post-race recovery, and have been for several years.
Other teams like Deceuninck-QuickStep and Lotto-Soudal from Belgium have previously said they have used them.
Frank Llosa, the owner of leading US ketone esters manufacturer KetoneAid and supplier to many pro cycling teams, tells NutritionInsight: “Nobody wants to talk about it. I’m surprised Jumbo talked about it. Perhaps they find it safer to admit to it now instead of being accused of it later.”
For near on a decade The Haute Route has provided epic high mountain bike racing for amateur cyclists to “feel like a pro” in multi-day events across some of Europe’s glory cols along with Brazil, Mexico and Oman.
As one Haute Route regular, 48-year-old UK-based Kiwi and HR stage winner and GC podium finisher Gretchen Miller tells The Draft: “It is tough and competitive, but there are different levels and because a lot of people go back year after year you feel like it’s a family. It’s all about the people. Having full rider support in spectacular mountains is awesome as well. The massages. Getting cheered riding through mountain villages. It’s the highlight of my cycling year.”
Dr Markus Rienth (orange & black)
You may not have heard of cycling kit maker Universal Colours. The upstart European brand only just debuted its range at the end of July after a low-key, lockdown-afflicted launch campaign that has nonetheless left it chuffed to see heavy demand for some of its new products.
“We are a performance-led brand with a sustainable approach,” chief designer William Hurd says. “Using recycled materials is part of that but so is choosing fabrics that are durable and that is something we are very big on because at the end of the day the clothing industry as a whole is not sustainable. Straight up. But if you can get four times more riding out of a bib, to me that’s a more sustainable approach."
Kate Allan, British 50 Mile Time Trial Champion in 2017 and founder of endurance sports communications firm, Compete PR, developed COVID-19 symptoms back in March.
“Three weeks in, with symptoms becoming more intense, I ended up in A&E – breathless, with a horribly mucous-y cough and body aches like no other,” she wrote of her COVID-19 experience.
“…the chest x-ray showed pneumonia in my right lung and the blood tests markers of infection.”
Coming down with COVID-19 prompted her to alter her eating patterns and views of nutrition.
“I’ve started taking magnesium, vitamin D and a more general multi-vitamin, and being more mindful about taking onboard healthier foods…My skin is brighter, and although I’ve felt pretty dreadful with lurgy – I can feel that my body is functioning far more effectively than it has been.”
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