Well the Grand Départ of this year’s Tour de France is now officially behind us. As far as Tour starts go, it is not one we will forget any time soon. Make no doubt about it, Denmark welcomed the Tour with open arms.
Many had waited generations for this moment to come, and they may well have to wait generations for it to return, so they embraced it fully. Nothing less than a sea of people flooded the roads of the Tour day in and day out, calling to mind the flood of enthusiasm at the Grand Départ in Yorkshire back in 2014.
What's more the racing was great from the start. Heavy rains may have dampened the roads of the opening time trial but they didn't dampen the spirits of the fans. Pre-race favourites like Wout van Aert and Filippo Ganna did their best to show why they are the best in the world in the race against the clock, but both came up short.
The flat roads of Denmark, of course, are tailor fit for sprinting, and this year’s Grand Départ served up two stellar field sprints as both Fabio Jakobsen and Dylan Groenewegen producing stellar sprints, especially since both have a unforgettable backstory going back to their crash in the 2020 Tour of Poland.
Perhaps the biggest star of this year’s Tour so far though is Danish rider Magnus Cort, who grabbed the polka-dot climber’s jersey on stage two and then took it on a long solo ride across the country on stage three. Denmark may not be a land for climbers, but on this day it was covered in polka dots. Neither Cort nor his Danish fans are likely to forget that memorable performance any time soon. And neither will we!
UAE Team Emirates, led by two-time winner and defending champion Tadej Pogačar, greet the Danish fans at the Tour de France 2022 presentation in Copenhagen
Wout van Aert would eventually end up wearing yellow in Denmark, but he had to wait until after the opening time trial. Despite leading for some time, he was beaten by his compatriot Yves Lampaert and had to settle for second place; his first of three consecutive second places in the opening three stages of the Tour.
A Cofidis rider speeds past the crowds in Copenhagen during the opening Tour de France time trial. The streets of the Danish capital were lined with thousands of fans despite the pouring rain.
Tadej Pogačar made a strong start to the Tour, finishing third in the opening time trial and moving straight into the white jersey of best young rider. The Slovenian is the favourite to retain his title and he showed he's at his best after the short time trial, as pictured here.
The Danish people gathered in their masses to see the riders of the Tour de France at the team presentation the day before the race began.
There was barely a metre of space spare on the roadside as fans gathered to see the peloton pass on the first road stage of the Tour on day two.
Fans await the sprinters to fight it out on stage two of the Tour de France, which finished in Nyborg.
Fabio Jakobsen grimaces as he races ahead to claim the second stage of the Tour, his maiden victory on his debut at the race.
Wout van Aert has spent two days in yellow so far at the Tour and has looked in formidable form, though a win still eludes him.
Rigoberto Urán gets into the Danish spirit at the sign-on of stage three. The Colombian of EF Education First-EasyPost has not had the ideal start to the race after a poor time trial and crashes in the road stages, and currently sits two minutes down in the GC.
A long shot shows the density of the Danish crowds on stage three of the Tour. The Scandinavian Grand Départ had to be moved back from its original slot in 2021 after the Tokyo Olympics were shifted from 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The long wait paid off and Denmark hosted a vibrant and passionate opening to the Tour.
Magnus Cort spent two days in the breakaway on home roads, riding solo for much of stage three. His reward was a stint in the polka-dot jersey in front of his compatriots and an appearance on stag at the end of each day.
Dylan Groenewegen had a resurgence of form to win stage three of the Tour, beating Wout van Aert and Jasper Philipsen. The Dutchman hasn't secured a victory at the Tour since 2019 and has struggled for form since an enforced time out of racing after causing Fabio Jakobsen to crash in 2020.
Van Aert gets ready to go on stage and complete his post-race duties as overall leader. The Belgian is eyeing the green jersey in Paris, while simultaneously helping Primož Roglič to the GC win.