Mark Cavendish on stage with Julian Alaphilippe
The 2022 Tour de France will take in cobbles, crosswinds, classic climbs and Copenhagen in a varied and potentially brutal route revealed on Thursday.
The race will begin with a 13km individual time trial in the Danish capital before stage two crossing The Great Belt Bridge, which links two of the country’s main islands. “It’s windy 364 days a year here,” Tour director Christian Prudhomme said. “This Tour can be lost as early as the second day.”
After three days in Denmark, the race will transfer to northern France and a stage five over cobbled sectors between Lille and Arenberg, the type of terrain which this year’s Paris-Roubaix showed can be treacherous particularly when rain falls, and is bound to take down some unlucky victims.
Stage seven holds the first summit finish, atop Planche des Belles Filles, a familiar and often telling climb in recent Tour de France history. The latter parts of the race take in famous Alpine ascents including the towering Col du Galibier, the highest point in the race at 2,607m, and the iconic switchbacks of Alpe d’Huez.
If the yellow jersey is still to play for then two gruelling days in the Pyrenees could well settle matters, before a final 40km individual time trial in southwest France on stage 20 and the closing procession to Paris the following day.
Organisers revealed the parcours in a Paris ceremony attended by the winner of the past two races, Tadej Pogacar. “It has everything, it’s going to be fun,” Pogacar said. “I don’t know which one is the key stage. There are a lot of stages where you can lose the Tour and stages where you can win it.”
The 109th edition of the Tour is likely to see Mark Cavendish, who was also at the ceremony, return to try and take the record for the most number of stage wins, having drawn level with Eddy Merckx on 34 this summer.
The men’s race begins on 1 July and will finish on 24 July, the same day the women’s race will be revived for the first time since 1989. The eight-stage edition will cover much of eastern France and finish atop the Planche des Belles Filles. “The goal is to organise a race that will stay, that will still exist in 100 years, that I can watch when I’m old and using a walker,” the 60-year-old Prudhomme said.
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