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July 21, 2019 - The Vegan Authority

Vegan Grand Tour cyclist - credits plant-based diet with staying healthy and strong

Vegan Grand Tour cyclist - credits plant-based diet with staying healthy and strong
Credit Adam Hansen - FacebookFile Photo / © Photabulous!

Australian pro cyclist Adam Hansen, is a veteran of more than 20 Grand Tours and an expert in performance science, discusses his approach to plant-based nutrition.

The idea that a pro cyclists like me can't be vegan is nonsense, he proclaims.

In bicycle racing, a Grand Tour is one of the three major European professional cycling stage races: Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a España. Collectively these three races, similar in format being multi-week races with daily stages, are termed the Grand Tours.

Hansen, told GQ he went vegan at least five years ago, has never looked back. For him, it seems entirely logical and natural for athletes like him to be able to manage on the diet. During the race, professional tour riders use carbohydrates either from gels or energy bars as their primary energy source. "They're all vegan" he explained.

"People ask: where do you get your protein from? But it's easy to get that from beans and legumes and other sources. Yes, I take vegan protein powder after races but other riders take whey protein shakes too. If a meat diet is so full of amino acids, why do they need protein shakes too?"

"If someone was to say a vegan diet doesn't have enough protein in it, you could say the same about a meat diet. Why are you taking amino acids? Even on a vegan diet it's more than adequate," he says with astonishing passion. "I've done heaps of Grand Tours without taking animal protein as a recovery. Over the years I've never taken animal protein, and I've done more Grand Tours than anyone else."

Elaborating in more detail to what he eats on a 'typical training day' to get the necessary calories on "diet like that", Hansen listed foods such as oats, salad, beans, legumes, and avocado. "Dinner might be some vegetables and rice noodles with tofu," he added. He even makes his own salad dressing on the road.

"The hotels don't have the best dressing. It's normally just oil and balsamic and that's about it. So I take a NutriBullet with me and blend avocado, chickpeas, salt and a little bit of garlic. It's a great example of one type of salad dressing with no oil."

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