A BARNSLEY nutritionist helped to lead Chris Froome and the Team Sky cyclists to success in this summer's Tour de France.

Up to 60kg of carbohydrate-rich porridge bought in a town supermarket by Sky's head of nutrition, Nigel Mitchell, of Dodworth Road, Barnsley, fuelled the cyclists on their gruelling schedules.

"It was quite funny actually, I was in Morrisons and the checkout girl asked me if I worked in a care home with the large amount I was buying," said Nigel, 47. "I just laughed and said I was going to the Tour de France.

"They know who I am now though so they're used to me."

Nigel's been working with Team Sky since its 2009 inception and has been working with British Cycling since 2001, following a stint with the NHS.

Nigel, who also buys seeds and berries for the team from the Holland & Barrett store near the Alhambra, is responsible for anything that goes into the riders' mouths.

Omelettes are popular during training, and vegetables are juiced into drinks as a way for riders to get all the goodness but without eating all the 'bulk'.

Another favourite during races is solid rice pudding cakes, a concept Nigel came up with about three years ago in his Barnsley kitchen.

The riders will eat between 60g and 90g of carbohydrates every hour depending on how hard they're cycling - which can equate to 9,000 calories per day.

Nigel, who is originally from Brierley and left Willowgarth High School in 1982, studied at Barnsley Sixth Form and Technical College and is a registered dietician with a diploma from Sheffield Hallam Hallam University.

He has worked with big names including Sir Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish and Chris Froome, who won this year's Tour de France, and also Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton during last year's London Olympics.

"Some of these guys are superstars. I've worked with them from being really young and it doesn't change them, they're still the same people they were before. We build this relationship and can still work with them when they're superstars."

Although his job takes him to other many other countries, Barnsley is home for Nigel, his wife, and two children.

"One of the problems is that people go away, get educated and don't come back," he said. "I've always felt it a little bit of a mission to live in Barnsley.

"There was never really the work opportunity for me in Barnsley, but it's home. The people are great and there's amazing countryside in Barnsley. Sometimes we do ourselves down in this town."