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Tadej Pogacar: The 2022 Tour de France route has everything

PARIS FRANCE OCTOBER 14 Tadej Pogacar of Slovenia and UAE Team Emirates during the 109th Tour de France 2022 And 1st Tour de France Femmes 2022 Route Presentation TDF2022 LeTour on October 14 2021 in Paris France Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images
Pogacar at the presentation of the 2022 Tour de France (Image credit: Getty Images)

Tadej Pogačar believes it will take a 'complete' rider to win the 2022 Tour de France, welcoming a varied route as he described himself as 'excited' to return to target a third straight title. 

The route for the 109th edition of the Tour de France was unveiled in Paris on Thursday, featuring five mountain-top finishes and two individual time trials totalling 53 kilometres. 

In addition, there are three punchy uphill finishes, a stage that covers the cobblestones of Paris-Roubaix, and various points that could be exposed to crosswinds. 

Pogačar was in Paris for the event and gave his instant reaction to the route. 

"It's pretty great. It's a complete course," he said. "From the first stage to the last stage, we have everything: sprints, echelons, cobbles, big climbs, small climbs, time trials. 

"I'm really looking forward to it. I'll do some recons because it will be necessary after we saw what's on the plan. I'm pretty excited."

Pogačar is one of the most complete Grand Tour riders in the peloton, winning mountain stages and time trials en route to his back-to-back victories at the ages of 21 and 22. 

However, he'll also have to taste the cobblestones of northern France for the first time in his career, as well as negotiating potential crosswinds like the ones that caught him out in 2020. 

After the opening time trial in Copenhagen, the two following Danish stages could be windswept, notably the 20km bridge over the Great Belt strait on stage 2. Once back in France, the rest of the first week contains more pitfalls, including the pavé, while the tension always runs high so early in the Tour. 

"The windy stages are always tricky. Everyone is nervous for those stages. It's going to be interesting to see what happens," Pogačar said. 

"I hope for no wind but it's hard when you have a 20km bridge – or something like that – that nothing happens. It's going to be scary."

After the opening week, which also features a summit finish on La Planche des Belles Filles, the high mountains dominate in the second half of the race, with back-to-back summit finishes in both the Alps and the Pyrenees.

However, the race could – for the third time in a row – be decided by a time trial on the penultimate day, this time covering 40km on rolling roads from Lacapelle-Marival to Rocamadour. 

Pogačar described the celebrations that followed the past two late time trials, when he knew he'd be riding into Paris in yellow, as his Tour de France highlights, but denied the structure of the route played into his hands. 

"I think it suits me if I feel good," he said. "But if I don't feel good, it's far from good news."

Deputy Editor - Europe. Patrick is an NCTJ-trained journalist who has seven years’ experience covering professional cycling. He has a modern languages degree from Durham University and has been able to put it to some use in what is a multi-lingual sport, with a particular focus on French and Spanish-speaking riders. After joining Cyclingnews as a staff writer on the back of work experience, Patrick became Features Editor in 2018 and oversaw significant growth in the site’s long-form and in-depth output. Since 2021 he has been Deputy Editor - Europe, taking more responsibility for the site’s content as a whole, while still writing and - despite a pandemic-induced hiatus - travelling to races around the world. Away from cycling, Patrick spends most of his time playing or watching other forms of sport - football, tennis, trail running, darts, to name a few, but he draws the line at rugby.