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This is the Champions League of performance nutrition

As the sportive director, Merijn Zeeman is deeply involved in the transition from a rock bottom team to becoming the best WorldTour team. A journey Team Visma | Lease a Bike has undergone from 2015 until now. Nutrition played a crucial role in this process.

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Written by: The Athlete’s FoodCoach, on 25-09-2023
Merijn Zeeman hugging Jonas Vingegaard after winning 2022's Tour the France

What is your perspective on nutrition, Merijn?

"When we started rebuilding our team in 2015, we carefully analyzed what could be improved. Nutrition was one of the key areas. It's important to understand that the guys in the Tour de France consume up to 8000 calories per day. Making the shift from doing 'something' to doing something 'structured' can yield significant gains. That's exactly what we did by working with a nutrition expert. Initially, she guided our three team leaders."

Was that a full-time job?

“Haha! Yes, it definitely was. Everything was new, so we had to start from scratch. We had an Excel file where everything was calculated and tracked, from breakfast to lunch and from on-bike nutrition to dinner. And it clearly resulted in better performances. For example, Steven Kruijswijk's performance in the Giro, where he finished fourth, and later a third-place finish in the Tour de France.”

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Merijn Zeeman
“We're playing in the Champions League of sports nutrition guidance!”

Is nutrition only important for the team leaders then?

“Well, certainly not. However, we couldn't afford to hire additional nutrition experts. That's why we teamed up with Jumbo to create an app that provides each rider with personalized nutrition advice. We rolled out this app in 2018.”

Merijn Zeeman discussing race tactics with Wout van Aert

How does this app work?

“The app helps the riders make the right nutrition choices at home. They can see which meals they can choose and what ingredients they need. During races and training camps, the app shows them exactly what to take from the buffet prepared by our chefs.”

“I truly see this FoodService as the champions league in nutrition guidance. We are extremely proud of it and make sure it doesn't just end up with other WorldTour teams. This way, we can maintain our competitive edge.”

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