Medical Demands of the Tour de France

News & Results

07/7/2004| 0 comments
by Chad Asplund, MD

Medical Demands of the Tour de France

The Tour is underway and after a few stages, riders are getting sick or injured.

The Tour is underway and after a few stages, riders are getting sick or injured.   At Roadcycling.com we wondered what kind of medical support does each rider need?   Julian Dean of Credit Agricole spent time and gave one rider?s perspective on the medical demands of the Tour. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>

 

What type of medical staff does each team have for the Tour?

Generally each team has a physician, soigneurs and on some occasions, a chiropractor and/or physiotherapist.  This year however, with the changes implemented by the French Federation, each French team must have physiotherapists instead of massage therapists.

 

What are the typical injuries that occur during a 3-week tour?

Food poisoning seems to occur a lot during a 3 wk tour and I think this is mainly due to the fact that each rider is so fit and lean and the body is put through so much fatigue day after day that the immune system is right on the limit and it only takes something small like an upset stomach to set off something like diarrhea or vomiting. Crashes also tend to cause a lot of injuries throughout a 3 wk tour and these can become a real problem for some guys because there is no time for the body to recover.

 

Do riders receive intravenous (IV) fluids or nutrition after stages?

I can't speak for all teams and I don't know what CA does at the tour but in the past, at the Vuelta when I had chronic diarrhea for several days and I wasn't able to eat solid foods, our doctor gave me fluids intravenously to try and keep me hydrated. Nutrition is very important after each stage to replenish the body of electrolytes, proteins and carbohydrates to help the body recover for the following day's racing.

 

Do riders receive alternative therapies?

Yes I do throughout my season.  I see an Osteopath who uses such therapies, as acupuncture, which I find, is really helpful to me.  I also take a lot of herbal and natural supplements such as echinacea, deer velvet, bee pollen, and manuka honey products.

 

How much time per day does the average rider spend on medical treatment? At the Tour De <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /?>
France
?

No idea.... I guess it depends on whether a rider has an injury or not, whether or not they are sick during the tour and whether or not the team provides medical help such as chiropractors, physiotherapists, etc.


Roadcycling.com would like to give a special thanks to Julian Dean from Credit Agricole for taking the time to respond to our questions.   Best of luck to Julian and Credit Agricole in the 2004 Tour de France.

Click here to visit our Tour de France section.

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