Tour de France 2022: preview and course check
The 109th Tour de France leads riders in 21 stages over 3328 kilometres from Denmark via the north of France, the Vosges, the Alps, the Massif Central and the Pyrenees to the French capital. The race starts on 1 July in Copenhagen and ends on 24 July in Paris. Between these dates two individual time trials, six flat stages, seven stages with an undulating profile and six mountain stages await the riders.
With a year’s delay, the Tour de France is to start in Denmark in 2022. Copenhagen is the Grand Depart and the 109th edition of the Tour de France will kick-off with a 13-kilometre individual time trial in the Danish capital, followed by two flat stages in the south of the country before the peloton transfers to the Tour’s home country, France, after a first and early rest day. Looks easy on paper. But the wind that will probably blow on flat passages and on the bridge over the Great Belt might as well blow some sprinters’ chances to win and some inattentive general classification riders may lose some time, too.
Touch of Paris-Roubaix on stage 5
These stages will be followed by the first of three rest days of this Tour, which is due to the long transfer. On stage four, back on the Tour’s home soil, the wind might as well be a decisive factor. This stage connects the two North Sea port cities of Dunkirk and Calais. Position will also be extremely important on stage five – because it leads over 11 cobblestone sections and a total of 19.4 kilometres of pavés from Lille to Arenberg. Five of these sections have never been ridden – neither in the Tour de France nor in Paris-Roubaix races.
The next day does not allow general classification riders to recover from these hardships, either. This 220-kilometre stage from Binche in Belgium to Longwy in France is not only this Grand Tour’s longest, but also ends with a long uphill sprint.
First mountain finishes on Planche des Belles Filles – 5 more to come
After the first week, the Tour of France reaches the first of a total of four mountain massifs – the Vosges. The finish of the seventh stage, which starts in Tomblaine, is the Planche des Belles Filles. Though it is only 7.8 kilometres long and has an average gradient of 8.7 percent it challenges riders with ramps of up to 24 percent gradient. After this stage, general classification will likely start to take shape – and sprinters as well as classic riders will probably be found rather in the second part of the result list.
The eighth stage crosses national borders again and leads the peloton from Dole to Lausanne in Switzerland. In the IOC’s hometown puncheurs will again be at a clear advantage over sprinters, as the final kilometres consist of a short, but steep uphill.
Switzerland will also host the ninth stage, which starts in Aigle and finishes in Chatel, France. Even though Tour organisers do not classify this finale as a mountain finish because it does not end with a categorised climb, it can nevertheless be compared to one. Before reaching the finish town of Chatel at 1297 metres, riders need to climb Pas de Morgins at 1377 metres that is located just a few kilometres ahead. This climb is 15.4 kilometres long, with a gradient of 6.1 percent. After a short descent, the course leads uphill again for the final four kilometres to the finish.
This hardship is followed by the probably much needed second rest day in Morzine in the Alps.
The French winter sports resort is the start of the 10th stage, which leads up to Megeve. Those who did not recover properly, will suffer on the final 20-kilometre climb into the ski area.
The two difficult Alpine stages are reminiscent of the Tour de France 1986
Hopefully they will only suffer there, because there are two more stages with mountain finishes that will get cycling fans and especially cycling historians very excited. From the Olympic city of Albertville, the eleventh stage of the Tour de France leads via Col du Télégraphe (1566 metres) and Col du Galibier (2642 metres) to Col du Granon (2413 metres).
The queen stage of this tour is only 149 kilometres long but leads over the highest point of the Tour 2022, the Galibier, and pays a visit to an old acquaintance. Col du Granon has so far only been part of the Tour 1986 – as some kind of executioner. Back then, Greg Lemond outpaced his teammate and fiercest rival, Bernard Hinault, and laid the foundation for his first Tour victory.
One day later, on Bastille Day, the course of the 12th stage is a tribute to that time, as it copies the 18th stage of the Tour 1986 when Hinault and Lemond crossed the finish line hand in hand as leaders. From Briancon, the stage leads again over the Galibier, then crosses Col de la Croix de Fer before the peloton fights their way up to Alpe d’Huez via 21 hairpin turns.
Leaving the Alps, the 13th stage leads from Bourg d’Oisans to Saint-Étienne on 193 kilometres. On paper it seems to be a stage for sprinters, but it remains to be seen which team will still have the energy to catch up with escape groups after more than two weeks of racing – or is interested in doing so.
Further south, the Tour de France leads from Saint-Étienne to Mende on 195 kilometres. With Côte de la Croix Neuve Montée Jalabert marking the end of this stage general classification riders better stay attentive, as puncheurs might take their chance.
The 15th stage starts in Rodez and ends after 200 kilometres in Carcassonne. There the peloton will spend the last rest day of the 109th Tour.
From this city in the south of France the peloton will set course for the Pyrenees via the finish of the 16th stage in Foix.
Tour finale in the Pyrenees
Stages 17 and 18 end with tough mountain finishes. Stage 17 starts in Saint Gaudes and leads via Col d’Aspin, Hourquette d’Ancizan and Col de Val Louron-Azet before a steep climb from Loudenvielle to the famous airfield in Peyragudes awaits the riders.
The day after, the stage from Saint Gaudens to Hautacam via Aubisque and Col de Spandelles marks the last opportunity for well-placed general classification riders with good climbing skills to make up time.
After a flat 139-kilometre stage from Castelnau-Magnoac to Cahors the maybe decisive time trial will be ridden. There will be a 40-kilometre battle against the clock between Lacapelle-Marival and Rocamadour. Long enough for general classification riders with strong time trial skills to snatch a few minutes off the climbers.
The obligatory Tour d’Honneur does not only finish in Paris this time it also starts in the French capital – in the La Defence area, at a rugby stadium in the suburb of Nantere.
All 21 stages at a glance
|Date||Stage||Start – Finish||Distance||Profile|
|1 July 2022||1||Copenhagen – Copenhagen||13 k||ITT|
|2 July 2022||2||Roskilde – Nyborg||199 k||flat|
|3 July 2022||3||Vejle – Sønderborg||182 k||flat|
|4 July 2022||Restday|
|5 July 2022||4||Dunkerque – Calais||172 k||flat|
|6 July 2022||5||Lille – Arenberg Porte du Hainaut||144 k||flat|
|7 July 2022||6||Binche – Longwy||220 k||hilly|
|8 July 2022||7||Tomblaine – Planche des Belles Filles||176 k||mountain|
|9 July 2022||8||Dole – Lausanne||184 k||hilly|
|10 July 2022||9||Aigle – Chatel Le Portes du Soleil||183 k||mountain|
|11. July 2022||Restday||Morzine|
|12 July 2022||10||Morzine – Megeve||148 k||mountain|
|13 July 2022||11||Albertville – Col du Granon||149 k||mountain|
|14 July 2022||12||Briancon – Alpe d’Huez||166 k||mountain|
|15 July 2022||13||Bourg d’Oisans – Saint Etienne||195 k||hilly|
|16 July 2022||14||Saint-Etienne – Mende||195 k||hilly|
|17 July 2022||15||Rodez – Carcassone||200 k||hilly|
|18 July 2022||Restday||Carcassone|
|19 July 2022||16||Carcassone – Foix||179 k||hilly|
|20 July 2022||17||Saint-Gaudens– Peyragudes||130 k||mountain|
|21 July 2022||18||Lourdes – Hautacam||143 k||mountain|
|22 July 2022||19||Castelnau-Magnoac – Cahors||189 k||flat|
|23 July 2022||20||Lacapelle Marival – Rocamadour||40 k||ITT|
|24 July 2022||21||Paris La Defense – Champs-Élysées||112 k||flat|