In the last edition of Milan-Sanremo, Team Novo Nordisk’s Charles Planet rode in the main breakaway for more than 250 kilometers – that means a rider with diabetes in the break at the longest one-day race in the world. With him was his teammate Andrea Peron along with six other riders. An incredible effort, which gave visibility to his team, telling a beautiful story.
How do you plan a break? How do you find the right time?
A breakaway was the goal for the team, we wanted to have someone in there. It’s great visibility for us and for our message to inspire, educate, and empower people affected by diabetes. I have some experience as I have been in many breakaways over the last years. In MSR there are always lots of attacks from very early so we expected that. Andrea and I were able to feel the right moment and anticipate everyone to get in the right breakaway.
More than 250km of break is a lot. How hard was it?
MSR is a long day on the bike and the fact is that we always keep a very high tempo in the breakaway, but always under the red zone. It’s almost a flat race so the hard thing is that we are always keeping pressure on the pedals without a break. At the end you just empty your tank little by little to make it to the final of the race.
How should you train for this type of performance?
This year, due to COVID-19, our season started a bit later than usual so I didn’t have many races in my legs and it was very hard to be ready for the MSR. Being in that breakaway will definitely help me to make a big step toward the next races coming up.
How many kilometers did you do before Sanremo?
Before MSR I had 6800km of training in the legs since the start of the year.
How do you manage nutrition during the race? How many calories did you burn?
The nutrition starts right at the beginning of the race when the break is gone. It’s a very long race so it’s important to fuel really often. It starts with solid food like rice cakes or some bars; going toward the end of the race when the pace increases and there’s more tiredness, I usually eat gels and drinks from Maurten. Just to give you an idea, from Milan to San Remo I burned 7938 calories.
How many bottles have you drunk? Just water or even supplements?
I drank around 10 bottles, including Maurten drinks and some water.
How many average watts did you push during the break?
I did 288 watts average and 312 watts normalized for 5h50 and 260km in the breakaway.
How long does it take to recover from such an effort?
As professionals we are trained for very intensive endurance effort. This year the pace is really high, and I had just a couple of races in my legs, so I felt more tired than usual. It took me a couple of days to fully recover.