There is a busy year ahead for the men’s peloton – assuming races avoid pandemic related cancellations – with 33 events planned for the WorldTour calendar in 2022. Events in the WorldTour are the most prestigious and top-ranked in the cycling calendar, sitting above ProSeries races and the various UCI Continental Tours.
Beginning with the UAE Tour in February and ending with the Tour of Guangxi on 18 October, it's a long season in 2022 which will be a test of endurance for those planning on racing until the very end. 29 WorldTour races went ahead in 2021, four of which were won by the multi-talented Slovenian rider Tadej Pogačar who excelled in both the Grand Tours and Monuments.
We can expect to see Pogačar at the forefront of more WorldTour races in 2022, but it won’t be easy for him to repeat his dominance of 2021 with the ever-growing strength in the men’s peloton.
Here’s our guide to the 2022 Men’s WorldTour Calendar.
UAE Tour (2.UWT 20/02 - 26/02)
The men’s WorldTour kicks off with the UAE Tour, a race almost as important for Tadej Pogačar to win as the Tour de France. With five flat stages and two hilly ones, it's a race that attracts a strong sprinting field as well as the usual GC suspects. Riders like Mark Cavendish and Jasper Phillipsen will be looking to begin their 2022 WT win tallies on the sandy roads of the Emirates.
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Elite (1.UWT 26/02)
As the first major one-day race of the season, Omloop always attracts a strong field. Known as the ‘Sprinters Classic’ due to its relatively flat parcours compared to some of the other Spring races, the likes of Wout van Aert and Sonny Colbrelli will have their sights set on victory in the Opening Weekend. With last year’s winner Davide Ballerini not set to start the race in 2022, the Omloop crown is there for the taking.
Strade Bianche (1.UWT 05/03)
The white roads of Strade Bianche are as challenging as they are beautiful. Before finishing in Siena, the men will take on 11 off-road sectors through the undulating Tuscan countryside. A man of many talents, Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar will be looking to win Strade in 2022, but he’ll be challenged by the likes of Tom Pidcock, Tim Wellens and defending champion Mathieu van der Poel. Occasionally throwing up unexpected winners, Strade Bianche is always enthralling.
Paris-Nice (2.UWT 06/03 - 13/03)
A stage race spanning 8 days, Paris-Nice is always a good early-season indicator of who will be challenging for Grand Tour wins later in the season. With a 13km time trial on stage four before a series of challenging mountainous days, it offers us a picture of the most well-rounded GC favourites. Max Schachmann will be looking to take victory for the third year in a row, but he will face stiff competition from the likes of Primož Roglič, Nairo Quintana and Aleksandr Vlasov.
Tirreno-Adriatico (2.UWT 07/03 - 12/03)
Those GC contenders not competing at Paris-Nice will likely be present at the Italian race which is on at the same time: Tirreno-Adriatico. Won in 2021 by, surprise surprise, Tadej Pogačar, it’s a race which is normally not as mountainous as Paris-Nice, but offers some challenging hilly parcour all the same. In 2022, the Slovenian Tour de France champion will be back to defend his title, but the Quickstep duo of Julian Alaphilippe and Remco Evenepoel will be eager to challenge.
Milan-Sanremo (1.UWT 19/03)
The first Monument of the season is Milan Sanremo, commonly known as ‘La Classicissima’ due to its huge 300km distance. Don’t let that fool you, though, we likely won’t see 300km of racing action. In fact, the race usually doesn’t kick off until the riders hit La Cipressa, the first climb which comes with around 22km to go. It's the Poggio di Sanremo, the final climb of the day, which can sometimes be decisive if a small group gets away over the summit. Last year, Jasper Stuyven just about held off the chasing pack with a late solo move. Caleb Ewan won the sprint behind the Belgian, and will be gunning to go one better in 2022.
Volta Ciclista a Catalunya (2.UWT 21/03 - 27/03)
Dominated by the Ineos Grenadiers in 2021 who took the top three spaces on the podium with Adam Yates, Richie Porte and Geraint Thomas, the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya is a seven-day stage race finishing in Barcelona. In 2022, the race features an uphill finish, time trial, back-to-back mountain stages on the third, fourth and fifth day, before two final rolling stages. With this in mind, there aren’t many opportunities for the sprinters, so we expect to see climbing talent like Alejandro Valverde, Richard Carapaz and Nairo Quintana on the start line.
Minerva Classic Brugge-De Panne (1.UWT 23/03)
At the other end of the spectrum is Brugge-De Panne, a race which favours the fastest legs in the peloton. Usually on pan flat roads on the Belgian coast, Brugge-De Panne was won by Sam Bennett last year ahead of Jasper Philipsen and Pascal Ackermann. In 2022, we can expect Tim Merlier to be a top contender, and Sam Bennett will be back to try and defend his title in the colours of BORA-Hansgrohe.
E3 Saxo Bank Classic (1.UWT 25/03)
Traditionally held on the last Friday in March, E3 marks the start of a week of cobbled Classics in Flanders. With the parcours resembling the Tour of Flanders, it serves as the perfect dress rehearsal for De Ronde which comes 9 days later. Last year, Kasper Asgreen took an emphatic solo victory, and his teammate Florian Sénéchal finished in second place from the reduced bunch behind. This season, Wout van Aert will take to the startline, as will Sonny Colbrelli, Jasper Stuyven and Peter Sagan – it’s set to be a dramatic fight for the win.
Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields (1.UWT 27/03)
Flatter than some of the other cobbled Classics, Gent-Wevelgem provides an opportunity for the sprinters who may struggle to get over the bergs in the Tour of Flanders. Despite its flat final run-in, two ascents of the cobbled Kemmelberg mean that the race is still challenging to win and doesn't always end in a bunch kick. Wout van Aert took the victory from a small group in 2021, and will hope to defend his title this season.
Dwars door Vlaanderen (1.UWT 30/03)
Coming the Wednesday before the Tour of Flanders, Dwars door Vlaanderen is the penultimate race in the week of Belgian Classics. Not as difficult as De Ronde, it's not uncommon for a large group to reach the finish line together in Waregem. That is if someone hasn’t snuck away before, as Dylan van Baarle did in 2021 when he won the race solo. The sniff of a potential bunch kick will likely attract the sprinters and we can expect riders like Tim Merlier, Fabio Jakobsen and Giacomo Nizzolo to line up in 2022.
Ronde van Vlaanderen - Tour of Flanders (1.UWT 03/04)
The main event of Classics week comes on Sunday 3rd April with the Ronde van Vlaanderen. A legendary, mythical race, De Ronde is one of the most prestigious events on the entire cycling calendar. Nicknamed Vlaanderens Mooiste (Dutch for "Flanders' Finest"), the race takes in the most challenging cobbled sectors and bergs in the Flemish region, finishing with a flat run-in to the town of Oudenaarde.
Last year, Quickstep’s Kasper Asgreen beat Alpecin-Fenix’s Mathieu van der Poel in a two-up dash for the line after a savage, attacking race. In 2022, Tadej Pogačar will take to the startline for the first time in his career, and it will be interesting to see how the GC man does on the cobbled roads. Wout van Aert and Sonny Colbrelli are other top contenders.
Itzulia Basque Country (2.UWT 04/04 - 09/04)
Those not partaking in the Classics chaos will likely be attending this 6-day stage race in the Basque country. A tough event taking in some of the notoriously steep climbs and inclement weather that frequents the area, Itzulia Basque Country is one for the mountain goats of the peloton. Won in 2021 by Primož Roglič ahead of Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogačar, who would go on to finish first and second in the Tour de France later that season, it's a good indication of climbing form. With Pogačar racing in Flanders, he won’t attend the race in 2022, but Roglič, Alejandro Valverde and Remco Evenepoel could headline a star-studded climbing field.
Amstel Gold Race (1.UWT 10/04)
The Amstel Gold Race normally marks a turning point in the season whereby races begin to favour the climbers ahead of cobbled Classics specialists. However, a calendar shift in 2022 means that it comes before Paris-Roubaix.
The Amstel Gold race takes place in Limburg, an area with steep asphalt bergs. The Cauberg, Keutenberg and Eyserbosweg are some of the most difficult in the race, with gradients as steep as 22%. Won by Wout van Aert in a famously tight photo finish with Tom Pidcock last year, the Amstel Gold Race is difficult without being so selective that it separates the entire peloton. Both Pidcock and Van Aert are expected to be back for round two in 2022.
Paris-Roubaix (1.UWT 17/04)
Known as ‘The Hell of the North’, Paris-Roubaix offers up the most difficult cobbled roads of the season. Sectors like the famed Forest of Arenberg lead to crashes, chaos and carnage all the way to the Roubaix velodrome. Last year, we saw a wet Paris-Roubaix for the first time since 2002, and the conditions only made things more dangerous and difficult for the riders. Back on the calendar in April for 2022, we will likely see more favourable conditions than last year, but that won’t mean that it will be an easy race, by any means. 2021 winner Sonny Colbrelli will be back to try and defend his title, but he’ll have the likes of Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert to contend with.
La Flèche Wallonne (1.UWT 20/04)
The first of two Ardennes Classics, Flèche Wallonne is one made for the puncheurs of the peloton. The likes of Julian Alaphilippe, winner in 2021, relish the steep, challenging climbs of Wallonia which really sting the legs later in the race. Flèche Wallonne finishes each year atop the Mur du Huy, a 1.3km climb with several sections steeper than 15% with a maximum gradient of 26%. Alejandro Valverde has won this race a record 5 times, proving that it’s well-suited to a lightweight climber. In 2022, Tadej Pogačar, Primož Roglič and Tom Pidcock will be a few of the top contenders.
Liège-Bastogne-Liège (1.UWT 24/04)
Known as ‘La Doyenne’ (The Old Lady), Liège-Bastogne-Liège is the oldest of the five Monuments. Thanks to its extremely challenging parcours and distance (the race was 259km in 2021), Liège is one of the hardest one-day races on the calendar. Climbs like La Redoute are some of the most challenging on the route, but what makes this race notoriously difficult is that the bergs come in extremely quick succession. “Riders who win in Liège are what we call fondisti - men with a superior level of stamina,” said four-time winner of the race Moreno Argentin. Last year, Tadej Pogačar took victory ahead of Julian Alaphilippe and David Gaudu.
Tour de Romandie (2.UWT 26/04-01/05)
Run through the French speaking part of Switzerland, the Tour de Romandie is a 6-day race which generally starts with a short prologue and finishes with a hilly individual time trial, with some mountainous stages in between. Last year, Geraint Thomas took the win here, proving that the route suits the most accomplished of time trialists. In 2022, Thomas will be back to defend his title but could be challenged by the likes of Brandon McNulty or Steven Kruijswijk.
Eschborn-Frankfurt (1.UWT 01/05)
Annually held on the 1st of May which is Labour Day in Germany, Eschborn-Frankfurt is known as a semi-Classic. Generally, the riders face a winding and hilly course around the Taunus Hills in the west of Frankfurt and finish with 4.5km laps around the centre of the city, covering a total distance of around 220km. The climbs come early in the race, meaning that the sprinters have time to recover and get back to the bunch before the finish. This means that Eschborn-Frankfurt is generally one for the fast men who will relish the flat run-in to the line. Won last year by Jasper Philipsen and the year before by Pascal Ackermann, it's clear that the route favours pure sprinters. We can expect Philipsen to try and defend his title here in 2022, but he’ll be challenged by up-and-coming sprinters such as Biniam Girmay Hailu.
Giro d'Italia (2.UWT 06/05-29/05)
The first of the Grand Tours, the Giro d’Italia is a three-week stage race that will run from Budapest to Verona in 2022. This year, there will be seven sprint stages, much to the delight of home favourite Elia Viviani. We’ll also see six ‘hilly’ stages, suited to the breakaway specialists and puncheurs, and six high mountain stages, four of which have summit finishes. The race ends with a 17.1km flat time trial in Verona, tailor-made for Italian superstar Filippo Ganna, but the GC will likely already have been decided in the mountains by this point. Last year, Egan Bernal took the pink jersey home as winner of the race, but he won’t be defending his title in 2022. The top competitors for the race this season include João Almeida, Alejandro Valverde and Richard Carapaz.
Critérium du Dauphiné (2.UWT 05-06/12/06)
One of the most important races in the lead up to the Tour de France, the Dauphiné is run over 8 days in the Rhône-Alpes region of France. The race begins with three hilly stages in 2022, followed by a 31.9km ITT, then one flat stage, another hilly stage, before a duo of mountain stages to finish the race. Richie Porte of the Ineos Grenadiers is the title holder, winning the race in 2021 ahead of Alexey Lutsenko and Geraint Thomas. The 2022 start list is yet to be announced, but Primož Roglič will likely start as the favourite.
Tour de Suisse (2.UWT 12/06-19/06)
Another crucial, shorter multi-day race for riders targeting the yellow jersey at the Tour de France in 2022, the Tour de Suisse will be raced over 8 stages this season. It has been won by team Ineos for the last two editions, with Egan Bernal taking victory in 2019 and Richard Carapaz taking the win in 2021. Rigoberto Uran and Jakob Fuglsang rounded out the podium last year, showing that this race suits the climbers and will be a good indication of form ahead of the Grande Boucle which comes just 12 days later.
Tour de France (2.UWT 01/07-24/07)
The most famous race on the entire cycling calendar, the Tour de France is the pinnacle of the season for many riders. First organised in 1903, the race spans 21 days which are usually a mix of hilly stages, sprint stages and high mountain stages. Tadej Pogačar has won Le Tour for the last two years and will look to take a 3rd win in 2022. He finished the race in 2021 over five minutes ahead of Jonas Vingegaard in second place, dominating both the mountain and time trial stages. As well as the battle for the overall general classification, the race is also important for the world’s best sprinters, especially the final stage on the Champs Elysees. Mark Cavendish won the most sprint stages in 2021 and was the best fast man over the three weeks, but it's unknown if he will return to add to his win tally in 2022.
This year, the Grand Depart will take place in Copenagen, Denmark, with an individual time trial. The riders will then face a Paris-Roubaix-esque stage five and the first hard summit finish on La Planche des Belles Filles two days later. The Alps feature in the second week and the Pyrenees in the third until the race finishes, as always, on the Champs Elysees in Paris. Tadej Pogačar and Primož Roglič will go head-to-head once again in 2022 as the two hot favourites to win yellow.
Donostia San Sebastian Klasikoa (1.UWT 30/07)
Although not a monument, the Clásica de San Sebastián is considered the most important one-day race in Spain. The race’s undulating terrain favours the climbers and those who like to race aggressively, with the tough Alto de Jaizkibel climb in the heart of the Basque country usually being a decisive point in the race. Often, those who have just finished the Tour de France will race at the Clásica de San Sebastián which takes place just 6 days later.
In 2021, EF Education - Nippo’s Neilson Powless took a surprise win ahead of his breakaway companions, showing that we should expect the unexpected in this race. Remco Evenepoel is also a previous winner and could be back to try and reclaim his title in 2022.
Tour de Pologne (2.UWT 30/07-05/08)
The Tour of Poland is a 7 stage race which begins in Kielce and ends in Kraków in 2022. It opens with two flat stages, followed by three hilly stages, an ITT, and another hilly stage to finish. This mix of stages means that the race usually attracts a strong sprint field as well as some big name GC riders. The race was won by João Almeida in 2021 ahead of Matej Mohorič and Michał Kwiatkowski, none of whom are pure climbers, showing that the parcours could favour the more punchy riders rather than the mountain goats.
La Vuelta a España (2.UWT 19/08-11/09)
The last, and youngest, of the three Grand Tours, La Vuelta begins in Utrecht, Netherlands with a team time-trial in 2022 and finishes in Madrid, Spain, with a flat sprint stage. The second weekend of the race will involve steep climbing in Asturias, while the longest climbs take place in the second week in the hot and deep south of Spain. La Vuelta generally doesn’t offer the most opportunities for sprinters, with only 6 sprint stages in 2022. In 2021, Primož Roglič made up for Tour de France disappointment with a win in La Vuelta and he aims to defend this title in 2022. Home favourite and previous winner of the race back in 2009, Alejandro Valverde, is another big contender, as is Richard Carapaz of the Ineos Grenadiers.
BEMER Cyclassics (1.UWT 21/08)
A flat one-day race, formerly known as the Hamburg Cyclassics, the BEMER Cyclassics follows a route in and around Hamburg which suits the sprinters. The riders’ most significant challenge along the route will be the Waseberg hill in Blankenese, which is normally passed three times in the race finale. Although a challenging climb, it doesn’t usually split the group. The race wasn’t held in 2020 or 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic which means 2019 winner Elia Viviani is still the defending champion. We can expect a field full of the world’s best sprinters to attend this race in 2022.
Bretagne Classic - Ouest-France (1.UWT 28/08)
Held in the Breton village of Plouay, the Bretagne Classic usually features 8 laps of a 27km circuit and one 14km lap in Brittany. With some steep climbs and technical descents, the race is challenging and suits riders who can cope with repeated accelerations. The last climb of the Côte de Ty-Marrec can provide an opportunity for riders to attack and force a breakaway, but sometimes they are caught by the sprinters teams before the line. In 2021, Benoît Cosnefroy had “the best day of [his] career” in this race, outsprinting his breakaway companions, Julian Alaphilippe and Mikkel Honoré, to take a big victory. Ethan Hayter finished in 4th place from the group behind, and is a rider who could be back to try and take the win in 2022.
Benelux Tour (2.UWT 29/08-04/09)
Dominated by Bahrain-Victorious in 2021 who finished in first and second place overall with Sonny Colbrelli and Matej Mohorič, the Benelux Tour is a 7-day race in Belgium and the Netherlands. It often gives some opportunities to the sprinters with flat stages that are characteristic of the area’s terrain. However, the race also normally includes some difficult cobbled bergs and Classics style stages which decide the overall general classification. It’s likely that we’ll see the riders who performed well in the spring Classics earlier in the year also perform well here.
Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec (1.UWT 09/09)
The first of the "Laurentian Classics”, both of which were cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid-19, the one-day Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec is held in Québec city, Canada. In 2022, it will be held as a circuit race whereby riders will complete 16 laps of a 12.6km loop. Each lap, there are four climbs in quick succession with the race finishing on the uphill Montée du Fort. Michael Matthews won this race when it was last held in 2019, ahead of Peter Sagan and Greg van Avermaet. It's unlikely these riders will contest the win again in 2022 with the changes the peloton has seen in the last two years, and it could be riders like Matej Mohorič or Julian Alaphilippe who will take victory.
Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal (1.UWT 11/09)
The second race of the Canadian double is the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal. Like the race before it in Québec, it will take place on a city centre circuit which is sure to attract big crowds. The riders will complete 18 laps of the 12.2km circuit which includes four climbs. The race finishes on the Avenue du Parc which is 560m with an average gradient of 4%. Greg Van Avermaet was the last winner of this race in 2019.
Il Lombardia (1.UWT 08/10)
Serving as the last of the 5 monuments, Il Lombardia is known as the ‘Classic of the Falling Leaves’ due to its autumn position in the calendar. Due to the parcours, it is seen as a climbers’ Classic – the route normally features five or six important climbs. The most famous is the Madonna del Ghisallo which is 10km long with an average gradient of 5.2%.
In 2021, Tadej Pogačar took an emphatic win ahead of his breakaway companion Fausto Masnada. Adam Yates rounded out the podium from the group behind, the race generally finishes in small groups rather than a bunch finish.
Gree-Tour of Guangxi (2.UWT 13/10-18/10)
The final event of the men’s WorldTour will take place in China over six days. After a two year hiatus, the event returns in 2022. In previous years, the route has been a mix of flat stages, mountain stages and hilly stages, attracting a strong peloton of riders. Enric Mas won the last edition of this race in 2019, with Daniel Martínez finishing in second place. Both strong climbers, this is an indication of the type of riders we can expect to see contesting the overall win in 2022.