Is this the year someone works out how to stop Tadej Pogacar? The Slovenian two-time defending champion starts as a big favourite again, with the usual cast assembling to halt his three-peat bid.
Primoz Roglic, the man who was cruelly unseated from yellow on the last competitive stage in 2020, and Geraint Thomas, the rejuvenated 2018 champion, are among those fancying a pop at the youngster – and both Ineos Grenadiers and Jumbo-Visma have assembled fierce squads in an attempt to crack him.
A glorious month of cycling actually kicks off on Thursday with the Giro Donne (June 30-July 10), before the Tour de France (July 1-24) and Tour de France Femmes (July 24-31) soak up the entirety of July.
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HOW CAN I WATCH THE TOUR DE FRANCE ON TV AND LIVE STREAM?
Each and every stage will be broadcast in its entirety on Eurosport, discovery+ and GCN+, bookended by The Breakaway, presented by Orla Chennaoui and featuring regular contributions from pundits Robbie McEwen, Adam Blythe and Dan Lloyd.
Bradley Wiggins will be doing his thing on the back of a motorbike, while the 2012 victor also returns with his critically-acclaimed podcast, The Bradley Wiggins Show by Eurosport. Hannah Walker and Bernie Eisel will be on-site speaking to the people that matter.
For the first time, cycling will be introduced to our Cube studio for coverage of the Tour de France and Tour de France Femmes. A raft of new innovations await, including augmented reality analysis tools and unique virtual backdrops will enhance the viewing experience even further. An “inclinometer” feature will be introduced, a 3D representation bringing to life the gradients faced by the peloton. New technologies within the Cube environment will also showcase some of the finer, tactical nuances of the sport such as echelons and time trial setup.
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The big two are here, with Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) and Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) set to return for a third season of Slovenian Frenemies. Pogacar has already proved he doesn’t really need a team to win, but he can still expect a human shield until he disappears up a mountain.
Should Roglic fade, or crash, Jonas Vingegaard is primed to take up the charge for Jumbo. The Dutch outfit is arguably the strongest of all in France, with Wout van Aert surely destined for further stage wins regardless of terrain and Sepp Kuss again ready to bury himself once the race goes uphill.
That last sentence will have undoubtedly rattled Ineos Grenadiers. And with a three-pronged GC team of Geraint Thomas, Dani Martinez and Adam Yates, they are packed with firepower – while Tom Pidcock and Filippo Ganna are included to put the brakes on Van Aert’s stage ambitions.
Another rider keen to stop the Belgian is Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck), who decided to throw the kitchen sink at almost every stage at the recent Giro d’Italia. Maybe a more measured approach this time? We doubt it.
And there’s a 10th Tour appearance for Chris Froome (Israel Premier-Tech), with the Brit still chasing his first top 10 finish since his horror crash at the Dauphine in 2019.
However, there will be no 35th stage win for Mark Cavendish, barring an extended Covid outbreak in the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl camp. The Manx Missile has already been twice snubbed for Tour duties – first with the initial announcement, then when Florian Senechal was given the nod to replace the Covid-stricken Tim Declercq.
Find out more about all 22 teams in Felix Lowe’s unavoidably excellent guide, especially if you’ve always wondered what French food the Ineos Grenadiers would be...
WHAT’S THE ROUTE FOR 2022?
Covering a total of 3,328km, the 2022 Tour de France features five altitude finishes, two time trials, five (perhaps six) sprint stages and plenty of opportunities for breakaway artists and puncheurs alike. After three days in Denmark and the most northerly Grand Depart in Tour history, there will be additional forays into Belgium and Switzerland.
In addition to the five summit finishes, there will be a total of 29 first, second and hors categorie climbs on the menu as the 109th edition of the race passes through the mountainous regions of the Vosges, Alps, Massif Central and Pyrenees.
There will be a total of 53.9km against the clock split between the opening stage and the penultimate stage, while, after a four-year absence, there will be 19.4km of cobbles split across 11 sectors in the fifth stage between Lille and Arenberg. The first, second and third riders across the line each day will receive time bonuses of 10, 6 and 4 seconds respectively.
Starting on Friday July 1 and finishing on Sunday July 24, the race will also feature three rest days to accommodate the transfer back from Denmark to France on Monday July 4. Below is a summary of the route ahead of an individual focus on each of the 21 stages…
|Stage 1 - Fri July 1||Copenhagen – Copenhagen||13.2km (ITT)|
|Stage 2 - Sat Jul 2||Roskilde – Nyborg||202.2km (Sprint)|
|Stage 3 - Sun July 3||Vejle – Sonderborg, 182km (Sprint)||182km (Sprint)|
|Rest day - Mon Jul 4|
|Stage 4 - Tue July 5||Dunkirk – Calais||171.5km (Break)|
|Stage 5 - Wed Jul 6||Lille – Arenberg||153.7km (Cobbles)|
|Stage 6 - Thu July 7||Binche – Longwy||219.9km (Punchy)|
|Stage 7 - Fri Jul 8||Tomblaine – La Planche des Belles Filles||176.3km (Summit)|
|Stage 8 - Sat July 9||Dole – Lausanne||186.3km (Punchy)|
|Stage 9 - Sun Jul 10||Aigle – Chatel||192.9km (Medium mountains)|
|Rest day - Mon July 11|
|Stage 10 - Tue Jul 12||Morzine – Megeve||148.1km (Summit)|
|Stage 11 - Wed July 13||Albertville – Col du Granon||151.7km (Summit)|
|Stage 12 - Thu Jul 14||Briancon – Alpe d’Huez||165.1km (Summit)|
|Stage 13 - Fri July 15||Le Bourg d’Oisans – Saint-Etienne||192.6km (Break or sprint)|
|Stage 14 - Sat Jul 16||Saint-Etienne – Mende||(Medium mountains)|
|Stage 15 - Sun July 17||Rodez – Carcassonne||202.5km (Sprint)|
|Rest day - Mon Jul 18|
|Stage 16 - Tue July 19||Carcassonne – Foix||178.5km (Medium mountains)|
|Stage 17 - Wed Jul 20||Saint Gaudens – Peyragudes||129.7km (Summit)|
|Stage 18 - Thu July 21||Lourdes – Hautacam||143.2km (Summit)|
|Stage 19 - Fri Jul 22||Castelnau-Magnoac – Cahors||188.3km (Sprint)|
|Stage 20 - Sat July 23||Lacapelle-Marival – Rocamadour||40.7km (ITT)|
|Stage 21 - Sun Jul 24||Paris La Defence Arena – Paris Champs-Elysees||115.6km (Sprint)|
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Stream the Tour de France live and on-demand on discovery+. You can also watch all the action live on eurosport.co.uk.
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