Ever wonder how Tour de France racers handle bathroom emergencies? Viewers of today’s Stage 19 found out when NBCSN’s broadcast aimed its cameras on Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider Niki Terpstra. Viewers watched a stream of liquid travel in a low arc as the rider, being recorded from the back thankfully, rode closely to the ditch with just one hand on the handlebars. Twitter noticed:
Ever wonder how Tour de France riders pee? Just captured for posterity on Stage 19, Rider # 78 for Quick Step. — Michael O (@Meehaul) July 25, 2014
Then they joked:
While riders sweat a lot along the route, they also are constantly fueling their systems. On average, riders consume roughly 8,000 calories per day, including 1,500 along the race route,
. Many of those 1,500 calories are consumed in liquid form via a specially mixed race drink, which is typically doled out to racers in 500 or 600 milliliter bottles. That’s over 16 ounces a pop and, according to Team Garmin-Sharp press officer Marya Pongrace, riders average about 13 bottles per stage, including pre-race, race and recovery.
With that in mind, it makes you wonder how racers taking mid-ride bathroom breaks aren’t caught on camera more often.
Now, if you’re wondering about the other reason humans need to use the bathroom, that’s a little more complicated. Ideally, racers would plan around their need to defecate, but once in a while, nature calls and all you can do is answer it. In that case, riders need to depend on a friendly spectator with a motor home. Here’s Arnaud Demare of Team FDJ.fr demonstrating that concept on Stage 14.
Poor timing? Yes. But the hold-up doesn’t necessarily mean the end for a rider in a speedy race. Belkin team riders Lars Boom and Maaren Wynants told the French newspaper Le Monde in an interview (via
) that it’s considered unsportsmanlike to overtake the tour leader during a bathroom break.