Tour de France 2022 essential race preview: Who will win the yellow jersey?

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Appointment: July 1 to 24
Steps: 21
Days off: 3
Begin: Copenhagen
Finish: Paris

The Tour de France 2022 begins with a bang in Copenhagen and ends in style with its traditional laps on the Champs-Élysées.

In between there are 21 stages, over 3,500km of racing and enough drama and intrigue to fill a Netflix series… Oh wait.

The 109th edition of cycling’s most important stage race brings all the pageantry, prestige and pressure that comes with the annual race Big loop.

Summer’s annual big loop features unique twists, like most years, with the Tour’s most ambitious great departure to date in Denmark. There are new climbs, a return to the cobbles and new faces that promise to shed some light.

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Yet more than most sports, the actual Tour de France is bigger than any individual star. Or so the French like to believe, especially those who work inside the ASO building in the western suburbs of Paris.

The 2022 Tour will see a clash of Slovenians, with Primož Roglič armed and determined to beat compatriot Tadej Pogačar, who looks destined to rule the Tour roost for a while.

Behind the clash of the Jumbo-Visma titans against UAE Team Emirates, the proud lady of the Ineos Grenadiers peloton is determined to prove that she can still bend the Tour to her will. Bora-Hansgrohe is also trying to find a place in the elite.

The fight for yellow still dominates the narrative, but there will be plenty of subplots with the battle for the green jersey and the hunt for stage wins that can make or break a career.

The Tour never disappoints, but because expectations are often so high, it is rare for the race to fully satisfy.

A challenging route should keep things interesting all the way from Copenhagen to Paris. Let’s dive in:

Who can beat Tadej Pogacar?

The short answer: apparently just his own bad luck.

BikeNews ran the peloton in June at the Critérium du Dauphiné asking top pros if Pogačar had a weak point that a rival could exploit, and the universal answer was no.

“Tadej is a very complete driver, he is very good in all terrain. Every race he takes part in, he is the favourite, including for the Tour,” said last year’s runner-up Jonas Vingaard. “Of course we have to look at him and use our strength if we can find any weakness. I wouldn’t say he has any weaknesses.

Pogacar is the Superman of cycling. He can climb, time trial, sprint, handle his bike, handle pressure and hug babies too.

At 23, Pogačar has already won two yellow jerseys, and seems destined for many others.

Some saw Pogačar’s squad as a relative weakness, but new signings such as George Bennett and Marc Soler only bolster what is already a very good support system.

Read also: George Bennett’s ultimate challenge on the Tour

Everyone agrees that this is Pogačar’s race to lose, so the question arises, who can beat him?

First in line are Primož Roglič and Vingegaard. They have finished runners-up to Pogačar for the past two seasons, with Roglič suffering the crushing defeat in the final time trial of 2020. Last year, Vingegaard surprised to stay close to Pogačar for three weeks.

Jumbo-Visma go all-in with a deep squad, even though a COVID exit from the Tour de Suisse didn’t help. Outright domination at the Critérium du Dauphiné in June raised hopes that Jumbo-Visma would be ready.

Can a team be stronger than a runner? Jumbo-Visma bets on it.

Jumbo-Visma dominated the Dauphiné during a warm-up for the Tour. (Photo: DAVID STOCKMAN/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

Behind these two behemoths is Ineos Grenadiers, the British super-team that has dominated the Tour for the better part of a decade. Without a confirmed winner like Chris Froome or the injured Egan Bernal, the team will struggle to match the Slovenians.

Adam Yates, Dani Martinez and perhaps a revived Geraint Thomas can push for the podium, and the team will benefit from the experience and knowledge that carried them to the heights during the peak years of the Wiggins / Froome era. , when the team won seven tours in eight years by four different riders.

Bora-Hansgrohe, comforted by his victory at the Giro d’Italia, will try to burst into the party with Aleksandr Vlasov. A podium would confirm the arrival of the team in the elite.

Behind them, the list gets pretty slim pretty quickly. Perhaps one of the “Class of 1990” will find new wings, with Thibaut Pinot, Nairo Quintana, or Romain Bardet. EF Education-EasyPost brings Rigoberto Urán and maybe Enric Mas can replace Movistar.

Week One: Steps to Press All Skills

Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme points to the bridge featured in stage 2. (Photo: MADS CLAUS RASMUSSEN/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images)

The 2022 Tour ventures into Denmark for three stages in what is the furthest start of the Tour in the history of the race.

The first yellow jersey is up for grabs in an old-school urban time trial course that should favor Filippo Ganna, Wout van Aert or Stefan Küng, GC favorites keen to limit losses or take gains.

There’s been a lot of talk about the first week of this year’s Tour, and rightly so. Two tricky road stages push the peloton into the plains of Denmark, with Stage 2 crossing a 20km bridge that could split in crosswinds. Stage 3 lays out narrow farm roads that will put the tension at the maximum level to avoid accidents.

The first week is for the sprinters, and once the Tour returns to France, stage 4 in Calais will see another chance for the fast finishers. The sprinters should have up to six or even seven chances in this Tour, but they will have to work for them after stage 4.

Read also: Could an 18km bridge ruin climbers’ GC hopes?

Stage 5 takes the Tour over the treacherous cobbled sections of Paris-Roubaix. Debate continues to rage over whether or not it is right to bring specialists and lean 65kg GC climbers onto the pavebut surviving this stage with fully intact GC options will prove decisive.

The first real selection of the GC arrives quickly in the arrival at the top of stage 7 at La Planche-des-Belles-Filles. This is where Pogačar crushed Roglič in a climbing time trial two years ago. This time, the time differences will not be as pronounced except for those who will lose the steering wheel.

Two transitional stages through Switzerland lead to the Tour’s first summit finish at Chätel les Portes du Soleil, a category-one climb that will separate the chafing from the wheat and prepare the Alps.

Week 2: return to Alpe d’Huez

The Tour returns to Alpe d’Huez for the first time since 2018. (Photo: JEFF PACHOUD/AFP via Getty Images)

The second week goes deep into the French Alps, with a stage with stage 10 climbing Megève with a second category summit finish.

Stage 11 includes the Lacetes de Montverrier, Col du Télégraphe and Col du Galibier for the HC summit at Col de Granon, the first of back-to-back summit finishes that perhaps put a standing order on the GC hierarchy.

Read also: In the long list of Ineos Grenadiers

Stage 12 returns to the famous switchbacks towards Alpe d’Huez, which should see the French in their climax to celebrate July 14th. The Galibier-Croix-de-Fer double sets the stage for a perhaps defining moment in this Tour, and it’s barely halfway.

The week ends with two transition stages favorable to breakaways to bring the peloton to the foot of the Pyrenees for the closing act.

Week 3: Pyrenees and final TT

Animation was not lacking in the Pyrenees. Photo: (Photo: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

A transition stage will bring the peloton into the short but explosive 129.7 km 17th stage which rushes into the Col d’Aspin (12 km at 6.5%), the Hourquette d’Anzican (8.2 km at 5 .1%) and the Col de Val-Louron-Azet (10.7km at 6.8%) before climbing to Peyragudes (8km at 7.8%).

The last big final at the top of the Tour takes place in Hautacam, with passages over the Col d’Aubisque and the Col de Spandelles to organize the final battle. The Hautacam gets steeper the higher it goes and has often proved decisive on previous Tours.

Read also: All the details on the Tour de France 2022 route

The Tour is not over yet. Stage 19 should be a mass sprint, if there are any legs left in the peloton to chase. All the loose ropes will be tucked away in the 40.7km individual time trial from Lacapelle-Marival to Rocamadour. The hilly terrain has some minor uphills, so this is a course of pure power and for anyone with strong legs.

The fun ends for the final laps on the Champs-Élysées on July 24.

Podium of the Tour de France 2021

  1. Tadej Pogacar (United Arab Emirates team)
  2. Jonas Vingaard (Jumbo-Visma) at 5:20 a.m.
  3. Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) at 7:03 a.m.

Green jersey: Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-Quick-Step)

Climber’s jersey: Tadej Pogacar

Youth Jersey: Tadej Pogacar

best team: Bahrain-Victorious

The podium of the Tour de France 2021. (Photo: Garnier Étienne – Piscine/Getty Images)

Previous winners

2021 — Tadej Pogacar
2020 — Tadej Pogacar
2019 — Egan Bernal
2018 — Geraint Thomas
2017—Chris Froome
2016—Chris Froome
2015—Chris Froome
2014 — Vincenzo Nibali
2013—Chris Froome
2012—Bradley Wiggins

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