After last year's 'contaminated meat' incident, food has become a key focus for a number of teams. The Rabobank and BMC squads have taken two different routes to insure they avoid any possible repeat of the scandal of the 2010 race.
Rabobank recently announced that they will have all meat tested before for clenbuterol contamination. According to Sporza.be Robert Gesink's team are being as cautious as possible to decrease any chance of a mistake being made. Some of the meat to be eaten has already been tested and is at the Tour with Rabobank, and more is expected to arrive as the race goes on.
BMC have gone a step further and will bring a chef with them to the Tour. Peter Cambré has worked with the team on a number of occasions before at major stage races. Cambré worked for Lotto in the past and generally travels with Cadel Evans. In 2011 he'll be looking after the whole team and he says that having a chef providing food minimises as much as possible the stress the riders have to deal with.
"For example, Marcus Burghardt always wants to have an avocado and he likes to mix apple juice with sparkling water," Cambré said. "It's those little things that make them really comfortable," he said.
The most extreme initiative comes from American Dave Zabriskie. According to the WSJ, Zabriskie will try to make history by being the first rider to attempt to ride the Tour de France on a vegan diet. The American has been trialling the diet and apparently it appears to be working, with Zabriskie enjoying a return to some of his best form in years.
"He's won more time trials this year than he has in his career," says Vaughters. "The proof is in the pudding."
"This is definitely the ultimate test of the vegan diet," he added. "If it works here, no one can ever say you can't do X,Y,Z as a vegan."
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