The 2022 Tour de France starts on July 1 in Copenhagen, Denmark and ends in Paris on Sunday July 24 after 3328km of racing. The 21 days include every aspect of bike racing, which you can dissect in more detail in our Tour de France preview.
For the first time since 2017, the Tour begins with a city-centre time trial, the Copenhagen test followed up by two flat stages across the country from Roskilde to Nyborg and then south from Vejle to Sønderborg. The riders will fly to France on Sunday evening after stage 3 and enjoy an extra rest day before starting the real lap of France.
Copenhagen is arguably the best bike city in the world, where 1.4 million people a day travel by bike – more than in the whole of the USA. The Danish capital will celebrate cycling during the Grand Départ, with a party atmosphere expected for the opening time trial.
The 13.2km city-centre course includes 18 corners and visits the Little Mermaid and other landmarks but Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) will have little time to enjoy the views as he dives through the corners at close to 54kph.
The world time trial champion is the favourite to win and so pull on the first yellow jersey but should be challenged by Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ), Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and other time triallists willing to take risks in the corners.
The overall contenders will also be fighting for every second, with Primož Roglič hoping to gain a psychological advantage on Tadej Pogačar, while everyone else tries to limit their losses on the two Slovenians.
Following the rest day and the transfer to France, racing returns on Tuesday July 5 with stage 4 near the northern French coast via an inland loop between Dunkirk and Calais. The 171km stage includes several hills and the Cap Blanc Nez climb on the white cliffs just 10km from the finish.
Things get far more serious for the overall contenders on stage 5, which includes 11 sectors and a total 19.4km of Paris-Roubaix cobbles. They come in the second half of the 153.7km stage and could, like in previous years, cause crashes, significant time gaps, heartbreak and glory for the winner.
Things gets serious in the Alps
After tackling the cobbles a 220km hilly stage in Lorraine lies in wait before the first summit finish of the race – the stage 7 test up to Super Planche des Belles Filles.
La Planche des Belles Filles was first climbed in the 2012 Tour de France when Chris Froome won the stage and Bradley Wiggins took the yellow jersey, and last in 2020 when Pogačar broke Roglič's heart. This year is again a ‘super’ Planche des Belles Filles finish, with the line atop the very peak of the mountain after an additional gravel track.
Two hilly transfer stages during the weekend take the Tour to Lausanne and Aigle in Switzerland before the second Monday rest day and a climb into the high Alps. Stage 10 is short at 148.1km but ends with a 19.2km climb to the summit finish on the Megève runway, where Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) won a stage at the 2020 Critérium du Dauphiné.
Stage 11 is much tougher and includes the spectacular Lacets de Montvernier before the mighty Col du Télégraphe and Col du Galibier. The stage ends for just the second time in Tour history with a mountain finish on the Col du Granon. It is a breathtaking 2413m high and saw the battle royal between Greg Lemond and Bernard Hinault in 1986.
Stage 12 is held on Bastille Day and will be a celebration of France as well as Grand Tour racing. The 165km stage returns to the Col du Galibier via the easier side and then climbs the Croix de Fer before celebrating the 70th anniversary of a finish on L’Alpe d’Huez and Fausto Coppi’s victory in 1952.
The legendary hairpins will surely be packed again with fans from around the world as the likes of Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) and Romain Bardet (Team DSM) fight for a French stage win.
Heading to the Pyrenees and a closing time trial
The Tour route heads out of the Alps via Saint-Etienne and a finish on the Mende Plateau, where Steve Cummings famously won on Mandela Day for MTN-Qhubeka in 2015. Another long, hot transfer stage takes the peloton onto Carcassonne for the third rest day, with the Pyrenees in view as the riders try to rest up.
Stage 16 to Foix in the foothills seems perfect for a breakaway before the back-to-back mountain-top finishes in Peyragudes and then Hautacam. Four passes are packed into the second half of the 129.7km stage 17, which finishes like in 2017 on the spectacular mountain runway finish at Peyragudes that featured in the James Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies.
The final mountain stage of this year’s Tour comes on stage 18, and includes two Hors-Catégorie climbs – the Col d’Aubisque and the finish up to Hautacam - plus the mid-stage Col de Spandelles (10.3km at 8.3%). The 13.6km final climb up to Hautacam will be the last chance for the pure climbers to gain time before Saturday’s 40.7km time trial across the Lot department in Southwestern France.
Who knows who will have survived to this point and who remains in contention for overall victory and podium places. The time trial will decide the final placings, with the 1.5km climb up to the line on time trial bikes the final moment of drama in this year’s race.
As per tradition, the final stage around Paris on Sunday evening is a celebration of cycling, with only the sprinters and their lead-outs focused on the final sprint up the Champs Elysées.
This year’s final stage 115km stage is preceded by the first stage of the Tour de France Femmes, marking a symbolic but historic handover as the women’s cycling makes a huge step forward.
For a breakdown of the individual stages of this year's Tour, visit our stages guide
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