As Søren Kragh Andersen warms down on his Elite Drivo trainer after another gruelling stage of the Tour de France 2018, he also has another recovery weapon in his armoury. Team Sunweb have joined forces with Dutch nutrition company DSM to aid rider regeneration after racing.

Søren Kragh Andersen, recovering on the trainer. Fun fact: Søren’s elder brother Asbjørn is a semi-pro bike racer in Denmark.

Dietary anti-platelet

There’s a bit of science to this. Intense exercise activates platelets in the blood, and this kicks off the production of thrombin, seratonin and adrenalin in the blood vessels. Higher core body temperature and dehydration, as well as lactic acidosis, also contribute to this process. Activated blood platelets can cause inflammation lasting as long as 48 hours after the activity, and this inflammation has been linked to increased blood clotting, deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. All not good.

Blood platelets are a sort of early warning sign for the body’s immune system in times of physical stress. Alongside inflammation, the effects of activated platelets include: Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS), poor sleep, slowed recovery and a weaker immune system. You can be sure that Team Sunweb’s riders want none of these during the Tour de France. Enter Fruitflow. This natural supplement was specially designed to “reduce the toxic effect of exercise”. Now there’s us thinking that exercise was a good thing. But, admittedly, the riders in the Tour de France put themselves through a lot more than us mere mortals.

Sun-ripened tomato jelly

The main ingredient in Fruitflow is extracted from the jelly around the seeds of sun-ripened tomatoes. The makers say it is a highly-concentrated form of over 30 water-soluble bioactive compounds that are clinically proven to help with blood platelet aggregation. One of the main ideas behind Fruitflow is that, when taken as a supplement before exercise, fewer blood platelets are activated and less inflammation occurs. This equals better recovery and stronger athletes during the tougher-than-tough events, such as the Tour de France.

Tom Dumoulin leads out over the cobblestones during stage 9 of the 2018 Tour de France, with Peter Sagan in his wheel.

Giro and Tour de France

Tom Dumoulin is riding the double in 2018, both the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France. This requires a huge amount of exercise, but also a huge amount of recovery. Tom is positive about the effects of this new recovery tool, saying that: “Towards the end of the Giro d’Italia, keeping the power output high was a challenge. I felt that by adding Fruitflow to our nutrition regime, it contributed to feeling stronger in the final days. Effective recovery made a significant difference to my overall performance.”

DSM is confident that Fruitflow helps riders to stay healthy during the world’s hardest bike races. “Professional athletes need their nutrition to support them in every way possible,” said Ruedi Duss of DSM Nutritional Products. “[Fruitflow] is ideal for cyclists that need to support their recovery for maximum performance.”