The Tour de France, ‘La Grande Boucle’, or simply, ‘Le Tour’. The biggest bike race in the world will commence on 1st July 2022. Here’s everything you need to know about the 2022 Tour de France.
The question everyone is asking: can anyone defeat Tadej Pogačar? The 23-year-old sensation decimated the field in 2021, winning three stages en route to his second yellow jersey. Pogačar attacked on stage 8, gaining more than three minutes on all of his GC rivals in Le Grand-Bornand. It was an audacious, mind-blowing performance, which all but secured overall victory prior to the first rest day.
That followed a year where he stole the maillot jaune from his countryman, Primož Roglič, on Planche des Belles Filles - more on that later. Many cycling fans still remember the stunned expressions on the faces of Wout Van Aert and Tom Dumoulin, who had expected to celebrate victory with their leader when he reached the summit. Instead, Pogačar produced a sublime performance, winning the time trial by 81 seconds to become the youngest Tour de France winner since 1904.
Tour de France 2022 - Stage 1: Copenhagen > Copenhagen
The first three stages take place in Denmark, with the first stage being a 13km time trial in the nation's capital, Copenhagen. The Tour de France hasn't opened with an individual time trial since 2017, where Geraint Thomas won in Düsseldorf. Although the route is moderately short it is also fairly technical.
Tour de France 2022 - Stage 2: Roskilde > Nyborg
Now west of Copenhagen and the stage 1 festivities, stage 2 begins in Roskilde. The route is largely flat and in close proximity to the coastline, so the riders must be ready to cope with strong winds throughout. This is never more true than in the final 20km, where the riders cross the Great Belt from the island of Zealand to Funen. GC contenders must stay vigilant here, despite the seemingly benign terrain.
Tour de France 2022 - Stage 3: Veijle > Sønderborg
The race continues in Denmark with another relatively flat route. Stage 3 concludes in Sønderborg, which is where the sprinters will have their first dance if they run into trouble in Nyborg. The stage is followed by an early rest day, where the race will shift to France.
Tour de France 2022 - Stage 4: Dunkerque > Calais
Stage 4 starts and concludes on the northern coast, but heads inland for a series of short climbs. These provide hope to the attackers, meanwhile the sprinters’ teams may struggle to control. The Cap Blanc-Nez (1.1km @ 6.5%) is taken on with 11km left and could be used as a launchpad.
Tour de France 2022 - Stage 5: Lille > Arenberg Porte du Hainaut
The cobblestones return to the Tour de France on stage 5. Eleven cobbled sectors are crammed into the final 75km of the stage, with sectors ranging from 1.3 to 2.8km in length and totalling 19.4km. The GC contenders must stay wary here, whilst the Paris-Roubaix specialists will smell a rare opportunity.
Tour de France 2022 - Stage 6: Binche > Longwy
Peter Sagan will enjoy riding stage 6 with his new team TotalEnergies — the uphill finish in Longwy mirrors the stage he won in 2017. The final few kilometres feature gradients that touch 11%, suiting the punchy sprinters. At 220km, this is the longest stage of the 2022 edition.
Tour de France 2022 - Stage 7: Tomblaine > La Super Planches des Belles Filles
The first substantial test for the general classification riders takes place on stage 7 with La Super Planche des Belles Filles. The final metres of the 7km climb take place on a gravelled ramp, which touches an absurd 24%. The climb was seen at the 2019 Tour de France, where Dylan Teuns defeated Giulio Ciccone from the breakaway. The Italian’s consolation prize was the yellow jersey.
Tour de France 2022 - Stage 8: Dole > Lausanne
The Tour drifts into Switzerland and more specifically Lausanne on stage 8 for another finish that suits the puncheurs. Percentages touch 12% here, meaning we’ll surely see the likes of Julian Alaphilippe to the fore.
Tour de France 2022 - Stage 9: Aigle > Châtel les Portes du Soleil
The race enters the Alps on stage 9. The Col des Mosses (13.3km, 4.1%), Col de la Croix (8.1km, 7.6%) and Pas de Morgins (15.4km, 6.1%) will shake up the general classification ahead of the rest day. The breakaway may have a chance to claim stage honours, although with a rest day to follow, some GC contenders may view this as a genuine opportunity to gain time.
Tour de France 2022 - Stage 10: Morzine les Portes du Soleil > Megève
Stage 10 is punctuated by a long, gruelling ascent to Megève — the final 21 kilometres take place on uphill terrain. The finish is located at the Megève altiport, which is where Sepp Kuss tasted success at the 2020 Critérium du Dauphiné.
Tour de France 2022 - Stage 11: Albertville > Col du Granon
The crucial stages for GC contenders only continue with a monstrous stage 11, which features an infamous trio of climbs: the Col du Télégraphe, Col du Galibier and Col du Granon. The final ascent averages a leg-sapping 9.2% over 11.3km.
Tour de France 2022 - Stage 12: Briançon > Alpe d’Huez
The iconic climbs don’t end there. The riders must ascend Alpe d’Huez on stage 12, in addition to the Col du Galibier and Col de la Croix de Fer earlier in the stage. The 166km effort replicates the 1986 stage 18 between Briançon and Alpe d’Huez, where La Vie Claire teammates Bernard Hinault and Greg LeMond famously crossed the line hand in hand, more than five minutes ahead of the next finisher. The stage also takes place on Bastille Day.
Tour de France 2022 - Stage 13: Le Bourg d'Oisans > Saint-Étienne
The green jersey battle is set to resume on stage 13 with a chance for the sprinters in Saint-Etienne.
Tour de France 2022 - Stage 14: Saint-Étienne > Mende
The savage Côte de la Croix Neuve concludes stage 14, where Laurent Jalabert won in 1995. The climb, which is perhaps better described as a wall, averages more than 10% over 3km, providing the purest puncheurs with suitable terrain to attack.
Tour de France 2022 - Stage 15: Rodez > Carcassonne
Another chance for the sprinters awaits in Carcassonne on stage 15. With few opportunities to follow, the sprinters’ teams will be highly motivated to control any dangerous attacks.
Tour de France 2022 - Stage 16: Carcassonne > Foix
The mountains return on stage 16. The Port de Lers (11.4km, 7%) and Mur de Péguère (9.3km, 7.9%) are crested with more 25km remaining before the finish in Foix. Although the climbs are steep, the distance between the peak of the Mur de Péguère and the finish line may deter attacks among the GC favourites. This indicates that the breakaway may have an opportunity.
Tour de France 2022 - Stage 17: Saint-Gaudens > Peyragudes
After setting off from Saint-Gaudens, the first 55km of stage 17 are relatively flat. However, the stage is one of the most testing of the race. The Col d’Aspin is the first of four categorised climbs that are packed into the final 75km of the 130 kilometre-long stage. Aggressive racing is likely before arriving in Peyragudes.
Tour de France 2022 - Stage 18: Lourdes > Hautacam
The GC contenders must keep something in reserve for the punishing stage 18, which sees the Hautacam return to the Tour de France for the first time since 2014. Vincenzo Nibali and Bjarne Riis are some of the riders who have conquered the mountain, which averages 7.8% over 13.6km. The Hautacam is preceded by the Col d'Aubisque (16.4km, 7.1%) and Col de Spandelles (10.3km, 8.3%).
Tour de France 2022 - Stage 19: Castelnau-Magnoac > Cahors
The sprinters that have remained within the time cut through both the Alps and Pyrenees will be rewarded with a chance in Cahors.
Tour de France 2022 - Stage 20: Lacapelle-Marival > Rocamadour
The final test for the GC riders. A 40km time-trial could swing the tide in the general classification, as it did in 2020 on La Planche des Belles Filles. Two short climbs wait in the final 5km of the time trial, meaning riders must manage their effort supremely throughout the first section of the course.
Tour de France 2022 - Stage 21: Paris > Champs-Élysées
We’ll already know who will win the 109th edition of the Tour de France when they set out for the iconic finish on the Champs Élysées.
Yellow Jersey / General Classification
Image credit: A.S.O./Charly Lopez
With a substantial wait until the grand départ in Copenhagen, we cannot be certain who will be lining up at the 2022 Tour de France just yet. However, as more riders and teams declare their race schedules, we can build a picture as to who could challenge for the yellow jersey.
Two-time defending champion Tadej Pogačar has already stated that his 2022 plans are centred around the Tour de France. He’s bidding to become the first rider since Chris Froome to win the Tour de France three years in a row. João Almeida, Marc Soler and George Bennett have all joined UAE and could be selected to assist Pogačar.
The Ineos Grenadiers have finished on the podium of the Tour de France every year since 2015. Their most recent winner, Egan Bernal, looks set to return to the Tour de France after he omitted the Grande Boucle from his schedule in 2021. Bernal won the Giro d’Italia last year and finished sixth at the Vuelta a España. Speaking to Mundo Ciclístico, Bernal said, “It is clear that we are going to focus all our preparation and efforts thinking about competing in the Tour de France this year. It is time to return to the path that we found in 2019 and from which we have separated a little.”
2021 runner-up Jonas Vingegaard told us of his intentions to return to the Tour de France in 2022 at Rouleur Live in November 2021. The Dane said, “I’m thinking mostly of the Tour de France next year. It’s not sure that I’m going there, we still have to talk about that [as a team]. But I really hope to go there. It’s also starting in my home country, so that would be really special.” 2020 runner-up Primož Roglič is set to join Vingegaard to make a formidable Jumbo-Visma tandem.
Polka-Dot Jersey / King of the Mountains Classification
Image credit: A.S.O./Alex Broadway
The polka-dot jersey is assigned to the best climber at the Tour de France. Points are available at the peak of each classified climb, with the longest and steepest climbs awarding more points. The rider with the most points over the course of the race wins the classification.
GC riders are often among the best climbers at the Tour de France, but other riders can join the breakaway to sweep up the points ahead of the peloton. Despite this, the winner of the yellow jersey often wins the polka-dot jersey simultaneously. Tadej Pogačar won the Tour de France in 2020 and 2021, and won the polka-dot jersey on both occasions too. Prior to that, Warren Barguil, Julian Alaphilippe and Romain Bardet secured the jersey.
Tadej Pogačar is seeking a third consecutive yellow jersey, and with that he also becomes a favourite to win the polka-dot jersey again. Other GC contenders who could challenge include Primož Roglič and Egan Bernal. Roglič finished second and third in the KOM competition in 2017 and 2020 respectively, whilst Bernal was second in 2019. Other riders who have demonstrated an interest in the jersey recently include Nairo Quintana, Mike Woods and Wout Poels.
Green Jersey / Points Classification
Image credit: ASO/B.Bade
The points classification is awarded to the best sprinter at the Tour de France. Points are awarded at each stage finish and at intermediate sprints throughout stages. Some intermediate sprints are positioned after mountains, which means a versatile rider has more opportunities to acquire points than a pure sprinter. Peter Sagan dominated the classification in the 2010s, winning the jersey on seven occasions between 2012 and 2019. He hasn’t won it since 2019 though, with Sam Bennett and Mark Cavendish winning the jersey in 2020 and 2021 respectively.
This year, many are anticipating a battle between two riders yet to win the green jersey: Wout Van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel. Van Aert finished fifth in the competition last season, although the classification wasn’t a major focus of his. Conversely, Mathieu van der Poel has never finished the Tour de France — he made his race debut last year, but decided to focus on the Olympics after losing the yellow jersey. Both Van Aert and Van der Poel’s versatility provide them with a major advantage over their opposition.
In terms of pure sprinters, defending champion Mark Cavendish looks to be heading to the Giro d’Italia instead of the Tour de France, with Fabio Jakobsen filling in for Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl. Sam Bennett won the jersey with the team in 2020, but he’s since moved back to Bora-Hansgrohe. Alpecin-Fenix duo Jasper Philipsen and Tim Merlier could also be dangerous.
Sonny Colbrelli, Michael Matthews and Peter Sagan have the climbing skills to challenge for the jersey, but they may give away too many points in mass sprints.
White Jersey / Young Rider Classification
Image credit: A.S.O./Pauline Ballet
Riders under the age of 26 are eligible to compete in the young rider classification. Like the general classification, the jersey is based on overall time. Recent winners of the jersey include Tadej Pogačar, Egan Bernal and Pierre Latour. Still aged just 23, Tadej Pogačar starts as the overall favourite for the yellow jersey, which also makes him the overwhelming favourite for the white jersey. If he goes on to win the yellow jersey for a third consecutive year, he’d also win the white jersey by default.
Other riders to look out for include Jonas Vingegaard, who leads Jumbo-Visma alongside Primoz Roglič, and Egan Bernal.
Cover image: A.S.O./Pauline Ballet