The PBscience team recently contributed to the book Performance Cycling: the Science of Success, edited by Dr James Hopker and Dr Simon Jobson. Dan and Helen co-authored a chapter entitled Training with heart rate and power while Helen also contributed a chapter on Coach-athlete relationships. If you want to learn more about the PBscience coaching philosophy this is a good place to start.

Etape 2015 profile

The route for the 2015 Etape is another cracker and all at PBscience are once again very excited about next year's event. The organisers have picked a great route with ~4000m of climbing but without the massive distance that has a tendency to turn the end of the ride into a misery. This season, we have tweaked our training plans slightly and will be offering two different versions: the first will be an off the peg approach using the Training Peaks online diary. Simply select the plan that best suits your requiremnets based on the time available each week and you can have confidence that your training will be structured to make best use of your time and will progress your fitness at a rate that will ensure success in next year's Etape. This approach offers basic individualisation through some simple self-admistered testing to set training zones and some options for a few workouts - please do drop us an email if you want some advice on selecting the right plans. Our off-season plans are the perfect way to get your preparations off to a good start this winter so take a look if you want to get started straight away. Alternatively our free plans offer a short introduction if you've never followed a plan before or want to 'try before you buy'

Alternatively, we will of course be offering our personalised plans priced at £75 for 12 weeks of training. Each plan involves:

  • A 1-2-1 discussion with your coach to help set the process goals to guide you towards the event.
  • A training plan to help you achieve those goals and ensure you reach race day in peak physical condition. We can tailor the length of this plan based on how much time you have to prepare!
  • In depth route analysis to help you make best use of your hard-won fitness come the big day

 *Price based on 12 week plan - email Dan to discuss individual needs 


Why not make your training plan more personalised? Add an initial Lab Test to establish baseline fitness, set accurate training zones and measure relative strengths and weakness.

  • A follow-up lab test can be added if you would like to check on your progress. It also helps to gather data that might not only inform your final few weeks of training but also aid peformance on the big day

Adding a lab test will help ensure your plan is tailored exactly to your unique physiological strengths and weakness.

Team in the lab 

What will my lab test involve?

During your lab test your PBscience coach will run you through a lactate threshold test and a ramp test. The results allow a complete description of the aspects of your individual physiology that combine to form your endurance capabilities. The tests last no longer than one hour combined.

Following the tests you will have the opportunity to discuss any questions you have, your aims for the Etape (Do you just want to finish? Do you have a specific time goal? Or do you want to beat all of your mates?!) and the availability you have to train. All told the testing and discussions tend to last around two hours.

In the days following your test, your coach will send a full write-up of your results; explaining what they actually mean, providing you with a set of bespoke training zones based on your physiology, and suggesting some targets for improvement to guide you towards your main goal for the Etape.

If you want to get the very best out of yourself in the 2014 Etape du Tour we can help so email Dan for more infomation. Alternatively if you want to work in more depth with one of the PBscience coaches, take a look at our cycle coaching packages.


There has never been a better time to take on this ultimate challenge!


2013 Etape feedback

2013 was undoubtedly the most successful year so far for PBscience Etapers with all twelve of the riders who approached us for assistance making it the finish line and most importantly enjoying their experience! The final climb up to Semnoz proved the challenging sting in the tail that we expected but the right preparation and forewarned that a conservative pacing strategy was wise, everyone was able to pass many cyclists who were struggling at this point. Here is some of the feedback we received:

"I just wanted to drop you a note to let you know how I went on the Etape last weekend. I completed the course in just under 7hrs (6hrs 55m!) and placed approx. 5,000 out of 10,500 finishers. I have attached my official results form in case you are interested. I found the course very difficult, especially the last climb but I was able to continue pedalling the whole time, only needing to stop twice to refuel for food and drinks. Thanks for all of your help through the last 3-4 months. I found the training program invaluable in terms of keeping myself motivated and monitoring my progress and your analysis of the course was very helpful in the last few days before the event. I look forward now to some more relaxed cycling but I am sure I will be in touch in the future to help me prepare for the next act of madness!" - Chris

"Not sure if you remember but I was one of the Project 2012 people last year and was gunning for the Etape. Sadly the weather got the best of me last year, but this year was a different story entirely. I finished this years one in 6hrs 30 according to the garmin, or 7hrs on the chip (stopped at a few of the rest stops for too long!). Hugely happy with it and was such a great experience. I used a lot of the training advice given last year and took it through to this year and even though I started right at the back (bib number 12945) I overtook hundreds of people on the course and was finishing with people in the 5000s. Thanks for all your help last year!" - Alex (see last years feedback below for details of Cycling Weekly's Project 2012)

"A fantastic experience one that I would definitely do again and encourage others to have a go. (but train well and pace yourself as I saw too many people suffering). Organization was superb - I felt like I was riding in the actual tour de france. Support and encouragement from locals - was amazing, even at 6 am in the morning, along the road and at the finish line, there is simply no comparison to that in the UK. My performance - very pleased, I did not blow up, I felt good and confident that I would finish after mont Revard. Allot of this is down to your training Dan and my weekend slogs in the Kent hills. I would like to thank you again Dan as you have undoubtedly helped me not only finish but get a respectable time." - John

"I thought I would drop you a quick note to say thank you for the EdT training plan. I had a really good ride and felt fit and strong throughout – largely I think down to following the structured plan you put together. The heat on the day was tough and the final climb a brute but I was pleased with my overall time of 6.38 which gave me an finishing position of around 4000 out of nearly 12,000. My ‘climbers’ ranking was 2,500 and as a 41 year old ‘weekend warrior’ I am very happy with that!" - Chris

"Hi Dan, I just wanted to say thanks for the training plan for the Etape. I didn't go quite as quick as I wanted, but all things considered I was pleased to finnish. The route analysis was invaluable as the last climb was horrible with nowhere to recover, and there were loads of accidents with people going down clipping people going up, so navigating up the hill was pretty difficult at times. I also backed off on the descents as people were having blow outs. I had a few issues on the day, my HR monitor went mental giving out silly readings, so I ended up having guess and ride a bit within myself at times to stay safe, and I was also sick (again) at the bottom of Mont Revard (I think it must be heat, it was over 33 degrees), so had to stop for a bit longer than expected to get some coke and water in me. I need to sort this out as I had exactly the same nutrition I've been using all year with no problems. All said, I know I'd have struggled a lot more if it wasn't for the structured plan that you did for me, it gave me confidence, and also allowed me to relax and not panic too much before the Etape, as I could see the progress in events from the previous year. If you need any recommendations let me know." - John

2012 Etape feedback

On the whole, 2012 was another successful year for PBscience 'Etapers' with almost everyone having a successful ride. Here is some of the feedback we received:

"Very belated but wanted to say a big thanks for your training plan. It took 11 hours but I made it and really enjoyed it. I think I can go faster next time! If you ever need a recommendation I'm your man." - Tom

"Just thought I'd let you know I completed the Etape last weekend in 11 hrs 23m. It was a thoroughly awful day in the saddle because of the weather conditions and lack of any kind of views of what was a stunning route, but the sense of achievement in getting through it in those conditions was immense. I've never been so cold as I was coming off Tourmalet and the descents were all treacherous because of the wet. But I did it and even managed a sprint finish at the end! Thanks for your help" - SteveProject_2012_-_Dan__Alex

"Just a quick note to say thanks for the training plan for this year's Etape. It worked well and definitely got me fit enough for the event. I did ok on the the day but due to a bit of confusion on my part abandoned the race at the bottom of the final climb (133kms in). I'd started from the last pen and had spent the whole day escaping from the broom wagon as they started sweeping at the same time as the last riders left the startline... Now I've done it once and have some experience on those long climbs I'm going to go back and do it again with the intention of completing the race next time! Thanks again and best regards" - Gareth 

Dan also took part in Cycling Weekly's project 2012, offering support and guidance to Alex as he attempted to conquer Act 2 from Pau to Bagneres du Luchon. Although the project was ultimately unsuccessful in that Alex did not finish the stage, here is what he had to say about the experience. A stark reminder of the challenge that the Etape offers! 

2011 Etape feedback

I found the Member Plan excellent. It provided me with a structured training regime whereby I felt that every session served a purpose and ensured that I peaked at the correct time to achieve my ultimate goal of taking part in the 2011 Etape du Tour. The ongoing dialogue and feedback that I had with Dan ensured that future training schedules could be constantly reviewed, updated and tailored to suit my individual requirements.” - AndyTony_Etape


Read Tony's extensive report on his 2011 Etape here... ... and for an example of the route information we will provide as part of your Etape training see our analysis of last year's Act 1 from Modane to Alpe d'Huez