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TdF Warming Up

bjlyonsbjlyons Posts: 38
Hi all

I was watching the Tour de France TT's the other day and noticed that when the riders were warming up they had white things shoved up their noses. Can anyone tell me what that is and what it's for?



  • ut_och_cyklaut_och_cykla Posts: 1,594
    AHHH! I noticed that too - and last year when warming up for a TT. Thought at first they all had nose bleeds - clearly not!
    Hope someone pops in with a SENSIBLE answer soon!
  • it's an old wives tale.

    the cotton wool is soaked in something like Olbas Oil, to open up the nasal pasages (when they take the pads out, during the race). However, your blood (haemoglobin) is already fully saturated with oxygen with breathing through the mouth (note, in some elite athletes with huge cardiac outputs not all the blood is fully saturated as it passes through the alveoli, but that's nothing to do with nasal breathing).

    Put it in the same category as not shaving on the day of a TT to spare your strength

    Professional cycle coaching for cyclists of all levels
  • bjlyonsbjlyons Posts: 38
    Excellent thanks for the reply. So they force breathing through the mouth during the warm up, but breath through the nose when actually racing?

    Also, is this turbo based warm up exclusively for the TTs? When they start out on the regular racing days I noticed they begin slowly, picking up speed as they go on.
  • during warm up i've no idea how much air would be able to go in via the nasal pasages/cotton wool. during the racing (or indeed anything greater than very light intensity) you breathe through your mouth. this is an automatic response. if you force close your mouth and only breathe through your nose, the volume of air that would go in would be too small to meet the demands of anything other than very light exercise.

    during road stages, they start at the one place and often travel a few km.s to the start proper, and from there 'amble' along depending on the plan for the day.

    Professional cycle coaching for cyclists of all levels
  • bjlyonsbjlyons Posts: 38
    Ah thanks for the info. I haven't been riding long and have been trying very hard to breath through my nose! Glad I can stop that now!
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