Etape du Tour Medal Times, Statistics & Goal Setting

Ask any decent coach what is the first step in preparing an athlete for a goal event and they will probably name the identification of event demands or “event profiling” ahead of all other concerns. Clearly it’s essential to know the level of performance required of an athlete compared to their current level and the level that may be achievable within the preparation time available because only then can goals be classified as SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic & Time Based).

One of the applications we make of Event Modelling  is to help riders understand the level of fitness / power they will need to pull off certain performances in goal events. For example, using an accurate event model, we can easily predict the power-weight ratio required to finish a given cyclosportive such as the Etape du Tour within 6, 7 or 8 hours. Riders can then use this information to drive their goal setting and training process so that the time and money they invest in the event more likely ends with a satisfactory outcome.

Ranking Performance

The Etape du Tour, as the biggest and most famous cyclosportive, has historically awarded medals (Gold, Silver, Bronze) for finishing within predetermined times and so riders have more often viewed medals not times as their end goal. In recent years however the spread of medals awarded to finishers has not always been very even, so much so that in 2012 the organisers appear to have dispensed with the Gold, Silver, Bronze classifications in favor of one standard finishers medal. This is perhaps not a bad thing as the relevant cut-off times, defined by some mystery forumla, were only ever revealed on the eve of the event and usually only available to view in the Etape start village. We would therefore suggest that going forward one more reliable option for riders is to target performance in terms of the "quartile" of the peloton, either as a whole or within their age group, in which they aim to finish.

Setting Goals

So how can we estimate in advance the times required to finish in each quartile and therefore define them as goals? One thing we can always know well in advance of the race is the time schedule for the professionals who race the same stages as the Etape’s on different days – after all it’s essential to manage television scheduling and road closures – so what better yardstick against which to predict the range of finishing times for the amateur Etape's than the professional race schedule? We can easily find this on the Le Tour website weeks or months in advance of the race: see for example the Albertville-La Toussuire  and Pau-Bagneres de Luchon  stages which comprise the Acte 1 & 2 Etapes in 2012. Then using some analysis of the historical relationship between these times / average bike speeds and those of Etape finishers anyone can make informed predictions. To this end we present the following statistics covering the most recent editions of the Etape du Tour.

Etape 2012 Acte 2 (Pau - Bagneres de Luchon, 201km)

Professional Stage Predicted Schedule & Results (197km)
@47kph @45kph @43kph Stage Winner Last Rider
05:37 05:57 06:21 05:32:02 (35.3kph) 06:08:54 (32.0kph)

Amateur Etape Results For: Time Average Speed (Kph)
  Best Worst Q1 Q2 Q3 Best Worst Q1 Q2 Q3
Entire Field   06:44 19:24 09:10 10:06 11:03   29.8 10.4 21.9 19.9 18.2
A (Men 1983-1994)   06:47 12:17 08:48 09:50 10:49   29.6 16.3 22.8 20.4 18.6
B (Men 1973 - 1982)   06:44 12:24 08:56 09:57 10:56   29.8 16.2 22.5 20.2 18.4
C (Men 1963-1972)   06:50 12:32 09:07 10:02 11:00   29.4 16.0 22.0 20.0 18.3
D (Men 1953-1962)   07:37 19:24 09:25 10:21 11:09   26.4 10.4 21.3 19.4 18.0
E (Men 1900-1952)   08:05 12:15 09:44 10:30 11:24   24.9 16.4 20.6 19.1 17.6
F (Women 1977-1994)   08:45 12:06 09:31 10:35 11:12   22.9 16.6 21.1 19.0 17.9
G (Women 1900-1976)   07:48 12:25 10:09 11:23 11:55   25.7 16.2 19.8 17.6 16.8

Etape 2012 Acte 1 (Albertville - La Toussuire, 148km)

Professional Stage Predicted Schedule & Results
@47kph @45kph @43kph Stage Winner Last Rider
03:59 04:13 04:28 04:43:54 (31.2kph) 05:20:29 (27.7kph)

Amateur Etape Results For: Time Average Speed (Kph)
  Best Worst Q1 Q2 Q3 Best Worst Q1 Q2 Q3
Entire Field   05:37 18:56 08:23 09:31 10:27   26.3 7.8 17.6 15.5 14.1
A (Men 1983-1994)   05:37 12:08 07:39 08:56 10:00   26.3 12.2 19.3 16.6 14.8
B (Men 1973 - 1982)   05:45 17:41 08:13 09:21 10:20   25.7 8.4 18.0 15.8 14.3
C (Men 1963-1972)   05:54 18:54 08:25 09:36 10:27   25.1 7.8 17.6 15.4 14.2
D (Men 1953-1962)   05:57 17:52 08:30 09:35 10:35   24.8 8.3 17.4 15.4 14.0
E (Men 1900-1952)   06:31 18:56 08:47 09:43 10:31   22.7 7.8 16.8 15.2 14.1
F (Women 1977-1994)   07:32 12:10 09:09 09:55 11:05   19.6 12.1 16.2 14.9 13.3
G (Women 1900-1976)   06:52 17:09 09:14 10:07 10:46   21.5 8.6 16.0 14.6 13.3

Etape 2011 Acte 2 (Issoire - St Flour, 208km)

Professional Stage Predicted Schedule & Results
@41kph @39kph @37kph Stage Winner Last Rider
05:04 05:20 05:37 05:27:09 (38.1kph) 05:48:57 (35.8kph)

Amateur Etape Results For: Time Average Speed (Kph)
  Gold Silver Best Worst Q1 Q2 Q3 Gold Silver Best Worst Q1 Q2 Q3
Entire Field       06:48 11:31 08:56 09:37 10:13       30.5 18.1 23.3 21.6 20.3
A (Men 1982-1993)   07:00 07:45 06:53 11:08 08:32 09:22 09:57   29.7 26.8 30.2 18.7 24.3 22.2 20.9
B (Men 1972 - 1981)   07:20 08:00 06:48 11:12 08:41 09:28 10:04   28.4 26.0 30.5 18.6 23.9 22.0 20.6
C (Men 1962-1971)   07:40 08:20 07:11 11:22 08:55 09:35 10:12   27.2 25.0 28.9 18.3 23.3 21.7 20.4
D Men (1952-1961)   08:00 08:40 07:19 11:31 09:05 09:46 10:17   26.0 27.2 28.4 18.1 22.9 21.3 20.2
E (Men 1900-1951)   08:30 09:00 08:15 11:16 09:22 09:55 10:33   24.5 23.1 25.2 18.4 22.2 21.0 19.7
F (Women 1976-1993)   N/A N/A 08:16 10:52 09:20 09:55 10:04   N/A N/A 25.1 19.1 22.3 20.9 20.7
G (Women 1900-1975)   N/A N/A 07:28 11:12 09:44 10:07 10:25   N/A N/A 27.8 18.6 21.3 20.6 20.0

Etape 2011 Acte 1 (Modane - Alpe d'Huez, 109.5km)

Professional Stage Predicted Schedule & Results
@38kph @36kph @34kph Stage Winner Last Rider
02:52 03:02 03:13 03:13:25 (34kph) 03:38:52 (30kph)

Amateur Etape Results For: Time Average Speed (Kph)
  Gold Silver Best Worst Q1 Q2 Q3 Gold Silver Best Worst Q1 Q2 Q3
Entire Field       03:39 09:22 05:28 06:14 07:08       30.0 11.7 20.0 17.6 15.3
A (Men 1982-1993)   04:15 05:00 03:43 08:54 04:53 05:41 06:37   25.8 21.9 29.4 12.3 22.4 19.3 16.5
B (Men 1972 - 1981)   04:30 05:15 03:41 09:22 05:17 06:03 06:57   24.3 20.9 29.7 11.7 20.7 18.1 15.7
C (Men 1962-1971)   04:45 05:30 03:39 09:22 05:30 06:14 07:08   23.1 19.9 30.0 11.7 19.9 17.6 15.3
D Men (1952-1961)   05:00 05:45 03:47 09:18 05:38 06:23 07:14   21.9 19 28.8 11.8 19.4 17.1 15.1
E (Men 1900-1951)   05:20 06:00 04:07 09:08 05:51 06:29 07:28   20.5 18.25 26.5 12.0 18.7 16.8 14.7
F (Women 1976-1993)   05:00 05:45 04:22 09:22 06:06 06:49 07:37   21.9 19 25.0 11.7 17.9 16.1 14.3
G (Women 1900-1975)   05:30 06:10 04:02 07:10 06:02 07:05 07:50   19.9 17.7 27.1 15.3 18.1 15.4 14.0


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