Tour de France 2022 stage 6 preview - A long way to Longwy

Stage 6: Binche to Longwy

Date: July 7, 2022

Distance: 219.9km

Stage timing: 12:05 - 17:15 CEST

Stage type: Hilly

The longest stage of the 2022 Tour de France starts in the Belgian city of Binche, known for the Binche-Chimay-Binche one-day race and also the hometown of WorldTour team Intermarché–Wanty–Gobert. 

In 2019 the Tour de France stage from Binche to Épernay saw Julian Alaphilippe take solo victory alongside the yellow jersey – a historic day for French spectators.

The first 69km skirt into Belgium before crossing into France, and the stage continues close to the Belgian border all the way to Longwy.

Soon after reaching France, the race comes across the first third-category climb of the Tour, the Côte des Mazures, before continuing through relatively flat terrain until 60km to go when the profile becomes rolling again.

The last 20km are up and down with the fourth-category Côte de Montigny-sur-Chiers, an unclassified climb, the third-category, 12.3% Côte de Pulventeux that crests with 5.3km to go, and the 1.6-kilometre finishing climb up the Côte des Religieuses.

Longwy is now a seasoned stage town at the Tour, having hosted seven stages, and when it last featured in 2017 it was Peter Sagan who took victory atop the Côte des Religieuses – confirming this is a stage for the puncheurs.

In addition to the hills, strong winds are forecast for Thursday in the region, with cross-tail winds from the north set to blow during the afternoon. After the damp squib of the Danish Grand Départ, where crosswinds were predicted but never came, stage 6 could see the first crosswind carnage of the race.

This stage could bring the GC favourites out to play, but with the next day’s summit finish in mind it is more likely that they will be content to follow moves on the hills before the finishing climb. 

A small group or a solo rider could fight for the win, but an uphill sprint between the best puncheurs that also includes the GC riders is more likely.

With Wout van Aert still in yellow, but reeling from an unfortunate stage 5 where he had to put Jumbo's GC priorities ahead of his stage win ambitions, we expect to see him eager to celebrate a last gasp in the yellow jersey. This time, he won't be called back by the team to protect his team leaders, either. Of course, Peter Sagan will not only be eager to stop him, but has won in this very spot before - so we may see a resurgence from the Slovakian superstar.

We'd predict a showdown between the most explosive climbers in the race, and no matter how the cards fall it will be a spectacular day for those on the roadside.

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Lukas Knöfler started working in cycling communications in 2013 and has seen the inside of the scene from many angles. Having worked as press officer for teams and races and written for several online and print publications, he has been Cyclingnews’ Women’s WorldTour correspondent since 2018.

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