Nico Bell shares his race-day nutrition strategy

With almost two decades of experience on the bike, multiple road, marathon and stage race wins its fair comment that Nico Bell knows a thing or two about nutrition.

Nico relies on the Swiss-based sport’s nutrition brand SPONSER SPORTS FOOD to stay in optimal racing shape. SPONSER, develops its formulations within its own facilities, using only the latest scientific evidence and in close collaboration with renowned universities, opinion leaders, doctors and elite athletes. All SPONSER products are carefully manufactured from certified sources and are subject to strict quality controls.

We asked Nico to give us an overview of which items in the SPONSER range he uses and how he incorporates them into his racing regime leading up to an event, during the event and afterwards.


“Leading up to a race I will increase my carb intake to prepare my body for high-intensity workouts, I do this by eating more carbs and using Sponser Carb loader three days before the event, having one sachet every day.” – Nico Bell

SPONSER CARBO LOADER is a highly energetic carbohydrate-electrolytes solution, especially developed to fill up the carbohydrate reserves. New studies (Bussau et al., Eur J Appl Physiol 87, 2002: 290-295) show that glycogen reserves can be completely saturated with a one-day carbo-loading effort. This means a very high supply of carbohydrates can be loaded by CARBO LOADER without any additional consumption of huge portions of pasta or potatoes. CARBO LOADER contains different kinds of sugar, as well as the special VITARGOTM, a certified carbohydrate made out of barley starch with a molecular weight about 100 times greater than that of maltodextrin. This induces a very low osmolality.


On the morning of the race, I will eat Muesli or Oats with strawberries and blueberries with some dried figs and dates with lactose-free milk and honey. For shorter harder races or workouts I use Sponser Power porridge with banana and cinnamon mixed in. – Nico Bell

SPONSER POWER PORRIDGE is a warm breakfast for athletes. The preparation of the Power Porridge with hot water and milk leads to a swelling and a gelatinization of the starch grains; which turns it into a pulpy consistency. Power Porridge is an ideal basis for long distances and ultra-endurance performances. Enriched with 13 important vitamins as well as VitargoTM, the patented ‘carbohydrate out of barley’ starch. VitargoTM has a molecular weight which is about 100 times higher than all other cereal starches. It also contains OatWell®, a concentrated oatmeal rich in betaglucans (soluble food fibes) with gelling properties.

The entire NAD PRO Team rely on Sponser Sports Food for training and race-day nutrition. Follow them on @teamnadmtb


During the race I mix 2 bottles with Sponser Competition if it is a 3 day or shorter event, for longer events I use Sponser Long energy. – Nico Bell

SPONSER COMPETITION is an acid-free sports drink made out of a large mix of carbohydrates with different glycemic indexes and electrolytes. Thanks to its special composition and its very light flavouring, Competition can be taken in high concentrations and and during high intensities. It is enriched with the electrolytes sodium, calcium, magnesium, potassium and chloride. Calcium plays an important role in energy metabolism and in association with magnesium and potassium it contributes to normal muscle function. It supports physical performance during endurance exercise as well as the rehydration of the fluid losses after physical activities.

SPONSER LONG ENERGY powder is ideally used during long-lasting endurance training and high-intensity session. It is a multi carb formula with fast acting protein hydrosylates. It is acid free, 5% or 10% protein and easily digestible.


I will take 2x tubes of BCAA or Liquid energy pure and start with these and always keep a salty gel to use toward the end in case of cramps starting to form. Gels work best for races where it is not always easy to eat, for open roads I use high energy bars or oat pack from Sponser. – Nico Bell

SPONSER LIQUID ENERGY BCAA is a highly concentrated energy gel and contains also, besides glucose and fructose, BCAA and taurine. Enriched with sodium and potassium it contains no preservatives, lactose or gluten. Ideal during long-lasting endurance activities; rinse down with 200ml of water.

SPONSER LIQUID ENERGY PURE Liquid Energy is a highly concentrated neutral tasting provider of energy in liquid form. A tube of 70g contains 210 kcal of pure energy. Liquid Energy is appropriate for endurance sports people who need constant energy supply. Also ideal for power sports and games as a source of energy before and during performance. A combination of sugar kinds with different glycemic index delivers long lasting energy.

SPONSER ENERGY OAT PACK is concentrated energy from oats. Oat flakes offer a long-lasting energy thanks to the soluble fibers which contain gel-forming properties. Suitable as a tasty snack on bike tours, during walks or trekking tours, but also for work or in everyday life. They are 100% natural.


For hard finishes or explosive events I use the Activator 200 to give myself the extra boost! – Nico Bell

SPONSER ACTIVATOR is a highly efficient, natural caffeine booster. It has been proven that it contributes to increased endurance and more focussed performance. ACTIVATOR helps not only in sports, it also improves your general concentration and alertness. It contains 200mg of caffeine and is It suitable for endurance sports, but also for power sports and explosive sport disciplines in which maximum concentration and alertness is required. For an optimal effect, caffeine should be consumed 1h before exertion. The effects can last several hours, depending on the quantity consumed.


After racing I use Recovery drink that has higher carb content and often have Pro Recovery later in the day as a second shake that is higher in protein to help repair muscles and replenish carbohydrate stores before the next day. – Nico Bell

SPONSER RECOVERY DRINK is a fruity lactose-free carbohydrate and protein drink for normal recovery after exercise. It contains short and long chain carbohydrates for energy.

SPONSER PRO RECOVERY is a carbohydrate-protein preparation for endurance and power athletes. The unique combination of the protein components whey, egg and casein in the ratio 1:1:1 as well as colostrum and potatoes-egg protein hydrolysates constitute an optimal protein mix for growth and maintenance of muscle mass. Enriched with the amino acids L-leucine, L-glutamine and L-arginine. Enriched with vitamins.


For hot days i will drink Isotonic drink and electrolyte tabs after to replace lost electrolytes. – Nico Bell

SPONSER ISOTONIC contains a wide carbohydrate spectrum of glucose, sucrose, fructose, maltodextrin, isomaltulose and trehalose. The proportion of carbohydrate with low glycemic index supports athletes during long activities.

SPONSER ELECTROLYTE effervescent tablets provide a refreshing sports drink with zero carbs and practically no calories. Containing the 5 electrolytes sodium, magnesium, calcium, chlorides and potassium to replenish what is lost during sweating. Thus, this thirst extinguisher is suitable for line conscious people or for shorter activities and metabolic trainings. ELECTROLYTES are free of lactose, gluten, artificial colouring and preservatives. Easy to prepare: dissolve 1 effervescent tablet in 500-750 ml of water and the refreshing sports drink is ready.


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