The 2022 Tour de France route was unveiled in Paris on Thursday morning, with the 109th edition of the Grand Boucle including an opening 13km time trial in Copenhagen, a stage across the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix, a first mountain finish at La Planche des Belles Filles, a return to the legendary hairpins of L'Alpe d'Huez, more summit finishes in the Pyrenees, and a final 40km time trial.
The route appears to be finely balanced, with 53km of time trials bookending the race route, while visits to the Vosges, the Alps and the Pyrenees offer the climbers some chances to attack and gain time.
The exposed roads of Denmark and northern France and the cobbled stage to Wallers-Arenberg will mean the overall contenders will have to be complete riders, able to fight in echelons and race on the pavé.
The Manxman and his rivals could have several sprint opportunities in the first week but then will have to suffer through the Alps and Pyrenees to make it to Paris on July 24.
As per tradition, race organisers ASO ensured the race route took centre stage rather than the riders, with an entertaining recap of this year’s race followed by Christian Prudhomme revealing the details of each stage of the 2022 race.
The Grand Départ in Copenhagen
The 2022 Tour de France will start in Copenhagen after a one-year delay caused by a clash with the European Football Championships in the Danish capital.
The opening stages had already been revealed, and Prudhomme confirmed the Tour de France will begin with a 13km city-centre time trial on Friday, July 1. It seems perfect for the likes of Filippo Ganna, Stefan Küng, Primož Roglič and Wout van Aert to fight for the first yellow jersey of the race, while the overall contenders will be trying to gain a psychologically important few seconds on their rivals.
Stage 2 heads west to Nyborg and then stage 3 goes south to Sønderborg, both on exposed roads and often skirting the coastline. The 199km stage 2 ends after the 18km Great Belt Bridge to Nyborg, with the risk of crosswinds sure to make for a nervous finale.
Stage 3 is more suited to the sprint teams with a loop around the city adding an extra twist in the final kilometres. Mads Pedersen won here at this year’s Tour of Denmark.
A nerve-racking first week and a first mountain finish at La Planche des Belles Filles
The riders enjoy a rare first rest day on Monday after the three days in Denmark but will be up early for a flight to Lille in northern France.
The racing returns on Tuesday with a stage from Dunkirk to Calais on the northern French coast. It's a day for the sprinters but they will have to fight for it in the wind and on the small hills.
Stage 5 finishes in Wallers-Arenberg and will again cause panic in the peloton and fuel debate about the place of the Paris-Roubaix cobblestone sectors in a Grand Tour. The Tour last raced on the pavé in 2018, when John Degenkolb won the stage, while previous visits took place in 2015 and in 2014, when Chris Froome quit the race early, rain made the pavé treacherous, and Vincenzo Nibali set up his overall victory.
The 2022 stage will cover 19.4km of cobblestones, across 11 sectors, five of which have never been used in either Paris-Roubaix or the Tour de France.
The route then heads into Belgium for a start in Binche on stage 6 and heads south via Luxembourg to a punchy finish in Longwy, where Peter Sagan got the better of Michael Matthews in 2017.
The Tour then heads into the Vosges for Friday’s stage 7 summit finish at the Super Planche des Belles Filles. The stage will climb beyond the standard summit, used heavily since its debut in 2010, to reach the steep gravel tracks at the top that were first introduced in 2019. Pogačar will no doubt be happy to return to the place where he snatched victory from Roglič in 2020.
The weekend sees the Tour head further south on hilly terrain into Switzerland for a flatter finish in Lausanne on stage 8. The following stage starts at the UCI headquarters in nearby Aigle before climbing back into France for a finish in the ski resort of Châtel, after a steady climb, a dip down, then a final kick up to the line.
The riders will enjoy the second resort day in Morzine on Monday, July 11 before facing three days in the high Alps.
A return to L’Alpe d’Huez a visit to Switzerland and lots of climbing in week two
The second week will begin with three Alpine mountain stages. Stage 10, from Morzine to Megève, links two big ski resorts but pales in comparison to what's in store on the following two days.
Stage 11 starts in Albertville and ends at high-altitude on the Col du Granon above the Serre Chevalier ski resort near Briançon. The Col du Granon climb measures 11.3km and averages more than nine per cent. Remarkably, it has only been used once before, back in 1986, when Greg Lemond was in the leader’s yellow jersey.
It ends at a breathless altitude of 2400m, making it a day for the pure climbers and anyone fighting for overall victory. Only the nearby Col du Galibier has hosted a finish at a higher altitude, in 2011, and that monster is scaled here as an appetiser.
The celebration of the pure climbers continues on July 14 – Bastille Day in France – with a return to the 21 hairpins of L’Alpe d’Huez after a four-year absence. It was last visited in 2018 when Geraint Thomas won with an angry final surge to indicate he was on track to win the Tour.
Stage 12 will be an exact replica of the famous 1986 stage that saw Greg LeMond and Bernard Hinault go shoulder-to-shoulder, going over the easier side of the Galibier and then the Col de la Croix de Fer before the final climb up L'Alpe D'Huez, which measures 13.8km at 8.1 per cent.
After the mountains, stage 13 heads west to Saint-Etienne for a transition stage, which could see a bunch sprint or offer a rare chance for the breakaway and baroudeurs. If the wind is up, there could be a threat of echelons
The third weekend is surprisingly a transfer across the south of France, with a small hilltop finish on the Mende airstrip, when Steve Cummings won in 2015, followed by a long and flat ride through the sunflower fields from Rodez to Carcassonne on Sunday, July 17.
The third rest day will be in that area before the final week starts in the Pyrenees.
The Pyrenees and a final time trial in week three
The final week begins with a ride to Foix but without climbing to the Plateau de Beille. The route tackles two late climbs, cresting the Port de Lers and the Mur de Peguère before descending into Foix.
The high mountains come on stages 17 and 18, with back-to-back summit finishes at Peyragudes and then Hautacam.
Stage 17 starts in Comminges and ends on the steep Peyragudes altiport runway made famous by the James Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies. The climb and final ramp to the finish line were used in 2017, when Romain Bardet won and Fabio Aru took the yellow jersey from Chris Froome.
The stage goes over the Col d'Aspin, Hourquette d'Ancizan and Col de Val Louron-Azet before the final climb (8km at 7.8 per cent) and the super-steep final runway ramp.
Hautacam will host a second consecutive mountain-top finish on Thursday, July 21, measuring 13.6km at 7.8 per cent. There is no Col du Tourmalet en route this time but the stage will climb the Col d'Aubisque and the Col des Spandelles on the way from Lourdes.
Stage 18 marks the end of the mountains but it will be difficult to see Paris from Hautacam. The riders face a long ride out of the Pyrenees to Cahors in the north of the Occitanie region on the Lot river. It will be the usual battle of the breakaway versus the sprinters.
The nearby villages of Lacapelle-Marival and Rocamadour will host the final 40km individual time trial on the final Saturday, the stage route passing through the spectacular rolling countryside near the Padirac caves.
The riders will transfer to Paris on Sunday morning for the final traditional stage around the French capital. The stage will start in the Thoiry Zoo Safari to the west of the city and end with the traditional laps of the Champs-Elysées and the crowning of the 2022 winner at sunset.
Tour de France 2022 stages
|Stage 1||Friday, July 1, 2022||Copenhagen||13km||Individual time trial|
|Stage 2||Saturday, July 2, 2022||Roskilde||Nyborg||199km||Flat|
|Stage 3||Sunday, July 3, 2022||Vieje||Sonderborg||182km||Flat|
|Rest day||Monday, July 4, 2022||Lille|
|Stage 4||Tuesday, July 5, 2022||Dunkirk||Calais||172km||Flat/rolling|
|Stage 5||Wednesday, July 6, 2022||Lille||Wallers-Arenberg||155km||Cobbles|
|Stage 6||Thursday, July 7, 2022||Binche||Longwy||220km||Hilly|
|Stage 7||Friday, July 8, 2022||Tomblaine||La Super Planche des Belles Filles||176km||Mountain-top finish|
|Stage 8||Saturday, July 9, 2022||Dole||Lausanne||184km||Hilly|
|Stage 9||Sunday, July 10, 2022||Aigle||Châtel||183km||Hilly|
|Rest day||Monday, July 11, 2022||Morzine|
|Stage 10||Tuesday, July 12, 2022||Morzine||Mégève||148km||Hilly|
|Stage 11||Wednesday, July 13, 2022||Albertville||Col du Granon||149km||Mountain-top finish|
|Stage 12||Thursday, July 14, 2022||Briançon||Alpe d'Huez||166km||Mountain-top finish|
|Stage 13||Friday, July 15, 2022||Bourg d'Oisans||Saint-Etienne||193km||Flat|
|Stage 14||Saturday, July 16, 2022||Saint-Etienne||Mende||195km||Hilly|
|Stage 15||Sunday, July 17, 2022||Rodez||Carcassone||200km||Flat|
|Rest day||Monday, July 18, 2022||Carcassonne|
|Stage 16||Tuesday, July 19, 2022||Carcassone||Foix||179km||Mountainous|
|Stage 17||Wednesday, July 20, 2022||Saint-Gaudens||Peyragudes||130km||Mountain-top finish|
|Stage 18||Thursday, July 21, 2022||Lourdes||Hautacam||143km||Mountain-top finish|
|Stage 19||Friday, July 22, 2022||Castelnau-Magnoac||Cahors||189km||Flat|
|Stage 20||Saturday, July 23, 2022||Lacapelle-Marivale||Rocamadour||40km||Individual time trial|
|Stage 21||Sunday, July 24, 2022||Paris||Paris||112km||Flat|
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