Tour de France 2022 stage 20 preview - a race against the clock

The penultimate stage of the Tour sees a gently rolling parcours over 40.7km, with a nasty sting in the tail

Tour de France 2022, stage 20
Distance: 40.7km
Start location: Lacapelle-Marival
Finish location: Rocamadour
Start time: 12.05 BST
Finish time (approx): 16.49 BST

In the 12th century, an unidentified tomb containing an intact body was unearthed at Rocamadour. It was decided that the remains belonged to Saint Amadour, a legendary figure who was reputed to have associated with Jesus and worked as a servant to the Virgin Mary, though documentary evidence was thin on the ground. Nevertheless, Rocamadour became an important centre of pilgrimage and the town, partly cut into the cliff faces of the river Alzou, incorporated a ‘Way of the Cross’ pathway, a steep climb meant to allow pilgrims to do a walk of penance to recreate the suffering of Jesus on the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem.

The stage 20 time trial of the 2022 Tour de France has its own equivalent: the two tricky climbs which come at the end of the day’s riding: the 1.6km-long Côte de Magès, which tops out 4km before the finish, and the final rise to the line, the 1.5km-long Côte de l’Hospitalet, which has an average gradient of 7.8 per cent. 

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The general classification of the race is largely set in stone, though the time trial is long enough to provoke a few changes further down the order. This means that there will be an uncomplicated battle for the stage win, and it’s possible that all the high-ranked GC riders are secure enough in their positions that they can get involved without risking losing a place to bad luck or overcooking it on a corner. The top three, Jonas Vingegaard, Tadej Pogačar and Geraint Thomas are all good time trialists and evidently are the strongest riders in the race. And then the specialists, the Stefans Küng and Bisegger and Filippo Ganna have been conspicuously absent from the action for the last few days, with the aim of getting through the mountains as fresh as possible for this day. The wild card will be Wout van Aert, as he has been the entire Tour. The Belgian has been active through the mountains and even came third at Hautacam, but it would be entirely in keeping with the kind of Tour he’s had if he came close to the win in Rocamadour.

Saint Amadour has been credited with 126 miracles. It’ll be one more if one of these riders doesn’t end up winning in Rocamadour.

Tour de France 2022 stage 20 map and profile

The general classification fight in this year’s Tour de France will come to a head with a long individual time trial. Beginning in Lacapelle-Marival, the riders will have rolling terrain to contend with for the opening 30 kilometres until things start to kick up slightly in the final 6 kilometres.

The first climb, Côte de Magès, runs for 1.6 kilometres at an average gradient of 4.7%. It’s only a short challenge for the riders but will sting the legs after the long effort they have sustained on the flat roads before. The second and final climb of the day comes just before the finish line: the Côte d l’Hospitalet. This climb is a similar length to the climb before, 1.5 kilometres, but it is steeper at 7.8% average gradient.

Tour de France 2022 stage 20 contenders and prediction 

The standout favourite for today’s time trial is two-time ITT world champion, Filippo Ganna of Ineos Grenadiers. The Italian rider will be able to make the most time gains on the flatter, earlier parts of this ITT – his strong, powerhouse physique is especially suited to this type of terrain. 

Ganna’s biggest challenger could be green jersey wearer Wout van Aert (Jumbo Visma). The Belgian has performed well on virtually every type of terrain in this Tour de France and time trials are no exception. He finished second on the race’s opening ITT in Copenhagen, and won the final time trial in the Tour de France last year.

Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) will be firing on all cylinders for the ITT, doing his utmost to make one final attack on Jonas Vingegaard’s yellow jersey. History tells us that the Slovenian rider is the stronger of the two against the clock, but it’s unlikely he will win back his deficit of three minutes on Vingegaard. Still, Pogačar could get a stage win today as a consolation prize.

Although he isn’t a rider we would typically consider for this type of stage, Yves Lampaert (Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl) shouldn’t be counted out. The Belgian rider proved his ability to perform against the clock by winning the opening ITT of the race and could be a contender today.

Stefan Küng of Groupama-FDJ has had a quiet Tour de France but the Swiss rider will be licking his lips at the sight of this time trial. He can ride well on these parcours and often comes good towards the end of a three week Tour de France. Brandon McNulty is also an outside bet here for victory. The young American has been an asset to Pogačar in the mountains and rides well against the clock. Stefan Bisseger of EF-Education EasyPost will be hoping to do well here, but we’re unsure if he will be able to beat the likes of Ganna and Van Aert. 

Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) is one of the GC contenders who might put in a good performance here on the flat terrain and Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) will be giving his all to defend the yellow jersey.

Rouleur predicts: We think that Wout van Aert will take the win today. He came close on the opening ITT in Copenhagen and will be keen to go one better here.

Cover image: Zac Williams/SWpix

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