Intake of protein immediately after exercise stimulates protein synthesis but improved recovery of performance is not consistently observed. The primary aim of the present study was to compare performance 18 h after exhaustive cycling in a randomized diet-controlled study (175 kJ·kg(-1) during 18 h) when subjects were supplemented with protein plus carbohydrate or carbohydrate only in a 2-h window starting immediately after exhaustive cycling. The second aim was to investigate the effect of no nutrition during the first 2 h and low total energy intake (113 kJ·kg(-1) during 18 h) on performance when protein intake was similar. Eight endurance-trained subjects cycled at 237±6 Watt (~72% VO2max) until exhaustion (TTE) on three occasions, and supplemented with 1.2 g carbohydrate·kg(-1)·h(-1) (CHO), 0.8 g carbohydrate + 0.4 g protein·kg(-1)·h(-1) (CHO+PRO) or placebo without energy (PLA). Intake of CHO+PROT increased plasma glucose, insulin, and branch chained amino acids, whereas CHO only increased glucose and insulin. Eighteen hours later, subjects performed another TTE at 237±6 Watt. TTE was increased after intake of CHO+PROT compared to CHO (63.5±4.4 vs 49.8±5.4 min; p<0.05). PLA reduced TTE to 42.8±5.1 min (p<0.05 vs CHO). Nitrogen balance was positive in CHO+PROT, and negative in CHO and PLA. In conclusion, performance was higher 18 h after exhaustive cycling with intake of CHO+PROT compared to an isocaloric amount of carbohydrate during the first 2 h post exercise. Intake of a similar amount of protein but less carbohydrate during the 18 h recovery period reduced performance.