This years Tour de France is in full swing. At 3,328km in length, the Tour de France 2022 route counts six flat stages, five summit finishes, two individual time trials and a handful of hilly days as it loops from Copenhagen to Paris.
The 109th edition of the race begins on July 1 with a technical 13km individual time trial through the streets of the Danish capital. The Grand Départ in Copenhagen, which was pushed back a year due to timetable clashes with the Euro 2020 football tournament, marks the Tour de France’s first visit to Denmark and offers the added incentive of a yellow jersey for the stage winner.
After a trio of flat and potentially wind-afflicted stages in Scandinavia, a transfer will take the peloton onto French soil for the first time, where the jagged, northern cobblestones await the riders. With 11 cobbled stretches to conquer, stage five threatens to rip the peloton apart on its way to Arenberg, a town infamous for its tree-lined trench that stars in Paris-Roubaix.
Four years have passed since the Hell of the North’s famous sectors last featured in the Tour de France. That day, carnage reigned over the peloton, leaving a long list of casualties in its wake. Just 10km into the stage, Richie Porte abandoned the race with a shoulder injury. Pre-race favourite Chris Froome later crashed in spectacular fashion, while Romain Bardet was forced into two bike changes.
This year, the cobbles are likely to be troublesome once again for those who are inexperienced on such technical terrain.
After a brief foray into Belgium, the peloton will then make its way south through Burgundy and up the Super Planche des Belles Filles. It was on this climb’s unrelenting gradients that Tadej Pogačar earned his first yellow jersey in 2020, overhauling a 57-second deficit with a stunning time trial performance. Two years on, the race organisers have included the extra challenge of a steep gravel track at the summit, with pitches reaching 24% on the approach to the line.
The race will venture across the French border for a third time on stage eight with a punchy finish in the Swiss city of Lausanne. The second week, however, is all about the Alps, where a trio of gruelling summit finishes are expected to cause decisive splits among the race favourites.
Following a three-year absence from the route, the mighty Alpe d’Huez will return to the Tour de France for a mountaintop finish on Bastille Day. The last Frenchman to prevail atop the winding climb was Thibaut Pinot in 2015, and the home crowds will be hoping for a similar scene this year.
En route to the Pyrenees, the peloton will traverse the Massif Central with a sequence of flat stages that provide a well-earned opportunity for the sprinters to enter battle. The route then goes back uphill as it reaches the country’s southernmost mountain range.
The final tests at altitude come in back-to-back summit finishes on stages 17 and 18. Though two of the shortest road stages on the route – 130km and 143km respectively -, these intense Pyrenean days will offer little respite for those suffering from weary legs in the third week of racing. The ski resort of Hautacam will play host to one final shoot-out in the high mountains as the GC contenders look to gain valuable seconds before the final day in Paris.
As has become customary, the penultimate stage offers an individual time trial, this year finishing in the picturesque cliffside village of Rocamadour. It’s possible that significant time gaps will emerge here, with the riders struggling to hold off the effects of three weeks’ worth of attrition in a 40km-long effort against the clock.
The race’s finale will play out on the Champs-Élysées for the 48th time in Tour de France history. Starting inside the capital’s covered La Défense Arena, the riders will tackle eight laps of the classic circuit before the overall race winner is crowned and attention turns to the much-anticipated return of the Tour de France Femmes.
Here’s our stage-by-stage guide to this July’s edition of the Tour de France.
Tour de France 2022 route: the stages
TOUR DE FRANCE 2022, STAGE ONE (01/07): COPENHAGEN > COPENHAGEN (13.2KM ITT)
Not since 2017 has the Tour de France opened with an individual time trial, when Geraint Thomas won in Düsseldorf. The 13km route sets off on a tourist trail of Copenhagen, passing over the Queen Louise Bridge, alongside the Little Mermaid statue, and finishing next to the Tivoli Gardens. The course is short and has a number of sharp twists and turns.
TOUR DE FRANCE 2022, STAGE TWO (02/07): ROSKILDE > NYBORG (202.2KM)
Now west of Copenhagen and the stage one festivities, stage two 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 THREE (03/07): VEIJLE > SØNDERBORG (182KM)
The third and final stage in Denmark heads south on a flat route to the coastal town of Sønderborg. Here, the sprinters will have their first dance should they run into trouble in Nyborg. An early rest day follows the stage, as the race and its cavalcade of vehicles travel to the North of France.
TRAVEL DAY (04/07)
TOUR DE FRANCE 2022, STAGE FOUR (05/07): DUNKERQUE > CALAIS (171.5KM)
Stage four 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 at 6.5%) is taken on with 11km left and could be used as a launchpad.
TOUR DE FRANCE 2022, STAGE FIVE (06/07): LILLE > ARENBERG PORTE DU HAINAUT (157KM)
The cobblestones return to the Tour de France on stage five. Eleven cobbled sectors are crammed into the final 70km 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 – much like John Degenkolb did in 2018 when he tasted victory the last time the cobbles in the race.
TOUR DE FRANCE 2022, STAGE SIX (07/07): BINCHE > LONGWY (219.9KM)
At 220km, stage six is the longest stage of the 2022 edition, and one of only two days that stretch out to 200km. Starting in Belgium, the peloton will tackle a tough route through the Ardennes. The final few kilometres feature two decisive climbs - the Mur de Pulventeux (800m at 12.3%) and the Côte des Religieuses (1.6km at 5.8%). Expect fireworks as the puncheurs grapple on the uphill drag in Longwy.
TOUR DE FRANCE 2022, STAGE SEVEN (08/07): TOMBLAINE > LA SUPER PLANCHES DES BELLES FILLES (176.3KM)
The first substantial test for the general classification riders takes place on stage seven with La Super Planche des Belles Filles. The final metres of the 7km climb will play out on a gravelled ramp, which tilts up to 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 that day was the yellow jersey.
TOUR DE FRANCE 2022, STAGE EIGHT (09/07): DOLE > LAUSANNE (186.3KM)
The race turns east and into Switzerland on stage eight with another opportunity for the puncheurs. The final climb to Lausanne’s Stade Olympique might look tame at an average of 4.6%, but its 12% pitches will no doubt make for an explosive finale. Don’t be surprised to see the two-time world champion Julian Alaphilippe try his luck here.
TOUR DE FRANCE 2022 - STAGE 9 (10/07): AIGLE > CHÂTEL LES PORTES DU SOLEIL (192.9KM)
Stage nine starts at the foot of the Swiss Alps in Aigle and takes the peloton over its first mountain passes - the Col des Mosses (13.3km, 4.1%), Col de la Croix (8.1km, 7.6%) and Pas de Morgins (15.4km, 6.1%). 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.
REST DAY (11/07) MORZINE LES PORTES DU SOLEIL
TOUR DE FRANCE 2022, STAGE 10 (12/07): MORZINE LES PORTES DU SOLEIL > MEGÈVE (148.1KM)
After visiting the shores of Lake Geneva, stage 10 travels south for a leg-sapping final ascent. At more than 21km in length, the climb to the Megève altiport will see the cream rise to the top in the race for the yellow jersey. It was here that Sepp Kuss triumphed at the 2020 Critérium du Dauphiné.
TOUR DE FRANCE 2022, STAGE 11 (13/07): ALBERTVILLE > COL DU GRANON (151.7KM)
The climbs come thick and fast into stage 11 in what will be another crucial day out for the GC contenders. The stunning Montvernier hairpins provide an amuse-bouche for the riders before they tackle a trio of iconic climbs - the Col du Télégraphe, Col du Galibier and Col du Granon. The final mountain test averages a demanding 9.2% over 11.3km.
TOUR DE FRANCE 2022, STAGE 12 (14/07): BRIANÇON > ALPE D’HUEZ (165.1KM)
On stage 12, the riders will do battle atop Alpe d’Huez, a climb steeped in Tour de France history. Before that, though, they’ll have to get over the arduous ascents of the Col du Galibier (23km at 5.1%) and the Col de la Croix de Fer (29km at 5.2%). 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.
TOUR DE FRANCE 2022, STAGE 13 (15/07): LE BOURG D'OISANS > SAINT-ÉTIENNE (192.6KM)
A bunch sprint is all but certain in Saint-Étienne on stage 13 as the fast-men get their first opportunity since arriving in France. Starting in the shadow of Alpe d’Huez, the 193km route offers a welcome flat stage for those vying for the green jersey. Any early escapees will be kept on a tight leash.
TOUR DE FRANCE 2022, STAGE 14 (16/07): SAINT-ÉTIENNE > MENDE (192.5KM)
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 in excess of 10% over 3km, providing the purest puncheurs with suitable terrain to attack. The riders will crest the summit with 1.7km to go, before embarking on a short descent to the finish in Mende.
TOUR DE FRANCE 2022, STAGE 15 (17/07): RODEZ > CARCASSONNE (202.5KM)
Another chance for glory awaits the sprinters in Occitania on stage 15. With few opportunities to follow, the sprinters’ teams will be highly motivated to control any dangerous attacks. The medieval city of Carcassonne played host to an historic moment in last year’s edition of the race, when Mark Cavendish equalled Eddy Merckx’s record of 34 stage wins.
REST DAY (18/07) - CARCASSONNE
TOUR DE FRANCE 2022, STAGE 16 (19/07): CARCASSONNE > FOIX (179KM)
The mountains return on stage 16 as the race enters the Pyrenees. An undulating first half of the stage is followed by ascents of the Port de Lers (11.4km at 7%) and Mur de Péguère (9.3km at 7.9%), before a 25km downhill run-in to the line. 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. The breakaway may well have its day in Foix.
TOUR DE FRANCE 2022, STAGE 17 (20/07): SAINT-GAUDENS > PEYRAGUDES (129.7KM)
The peloton will roll out of Saint-Gaudens on stage 17, rising gently uphill for the first 55km. The riders will then begin a sequence of four testing categorised climbs, starting with the Col d’Aspin (12km at 6,5%) and concluding on the double-figure gradients up to Peyragudes (8km at 7,8%). This will be only the third time the race finishes atop the climb, with Romain Bardet victorious the last time in featured in 2017.
TOUR DE FRANCE 2022, STAGE 18 (21/07): LOURDES > HAUTACAM (143.2KM)
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 (22/07): CASTELNAU-MAGNOAC > CAHORS (188.3KM)
The sprinters will be glad to leave the Pyrenees behind on stage 19, as the route heads north on flat roads to Cahors. The medieval wine town will host its first stage finish since 1994, when Jacky Durand crossed the line first wearing the French tricolour.
TOUR DE FRANCE 2022, STAGE 20 (23/07): LACAPELLE-MARIVAL > ROCAMADOUR (40.7KM ITT)
For the fifth time in six years, the race organisers have chosen to stage an individual time trial on the penultimate day of the Tour de France. Though relatively flat, the course to Rocamadour counts two short climbs in the final 5km, finishing with an 8% ramp to the line. Riders will need to manage their effort throughout to ensure they don’t come undone in the final moments.
TOUR DE FRANCE 2022, STAGE 21 (24/07): PARIS LA DÉFENSE ARENA > CHAMPS-ÉLYSÉES (115.6km)
Starting at La Défense Arena, home of rugby union club Racing 92, the riders will leave the capital on a procession before returning to contest the race’s finale. Six different riders have won the sprint on the Champs-Élysées since 2016. This year, the fastmen that remain will lock horns for that all-important victory on their palmarès.