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The 109th edition of the most famous cycling race in the world has now a confirmed route! Copenhagen will host the Grand Départ, then we’ll be off to Northern France and its cobbles, and we’ll go for a brief visit to Belgium and Switzerland as well. And it will all finish on the Champs-Élysées, of course. 3,328 km, featuring 29 second, first, and hors category climbs, with six mountain stages and five altitude finishes. It will all start on July 1 and come to an end on July 24 2022. We just can’t wait.

And how does the race‘s director see it? Here‘s the commentary on each stage by Christian Prudhomme himself.

Tour de France 2022 Route

Stage 1 (Copenhagen, 13 km, ITT)

The Queen Louise Bridge is reputed to be the busiest cycling route in the world. The riders will start the Tour by heading down the time trial start ramp one by one to tackle a circuit within the city that will take them past Tivoli Gardens and the Little Mermaid. There is a handful of bends on the course that are quite technical but these shouldn’t prevent the day’s most powerful rider from taking the first yellow jersey.

Stage 2 (Roskilde to Nyborg, 199 km, Flat)

The Tour’s riders have already savoured the experience of riding over the sea to reach the finish at Zeeland in 2015. On this occasion, the Great Belt crossing is 18 kilometres long and there’s a strong possibility that the riders will have to battle gusting winds. The teams that are best adept at dealing with windy conditions will have a tactical card to play. If any of the favourites aren’t vigilant enough, they’ll have good reason to regret the finish.

Stage 3 (Vejle to Sonderborg, 182 km, Flat)

Although the route never strays far from the coast of the Jutland peninsula, it will be less exposed to the wind than the day before and that should make it easier for the sprinters’ teams to control the race. Before a transfer and an unusually early first rest day, this stage should see the first round in the battle between the sprinters.

Transfer day

Stage 4 (Dunkerque to Calais, 172 km, Hilly)

Although the stage starts and finishes at sea level, the amount of climbing in between might well give the sprinters some cause for concern. The peloton will, for example, head towards the hills of West Flanders and then visit the Boulonnais hills. There’s likely to be lots of long-range attacks, especially in the final section along the coast that could well be windy: the climbs near the Cap Gris-Nez and Cap Blanc-Nez headlands could prove decisive.

Stage 5 (Lille Métropole to Arenberg Porte du Hainaut, 155 km, Hilly) 

In 2018, the Tour’s last stage over the cobbles concluded with John Degenkolb winning in Roubaix. This stage will feature an equivalent amount of bone-jarring action in what is the most acrobatic challenge of the opening week. Good preparations and full concentration will be the Tour favourites’ best weapons when it comes to dealing with their apprehension of this test.

Stage 6 (Binche to Longwy, 220 km, Hilly)

This is a long trek through the Ardennes, and the contenders for victory will have to gauge their effort well if they want to shine in the finale, which is even tougher than the one that featured the last time the Tour visited Longwy. The leading puncheurs will be to the fore on the Mur de Pulventeux, situated 6 km from the finish (800 m long and averaging 12%), before having the opportunity to show their explosive qualities on the Côte des Religieuses.

Stage 7 (Tomblaine to La Sper Planche des Belles Filles, 176 km, Mountain)

Although this is the first summit finish of the 2022 Tour, it doesn’t come at the end of an authentic mountain stage. However, Super Planche des Belles Filles always guarantees a high-intensity finish. As the one big climbing test of the day, the gaps at the finish shouldn’t be that substantial but the riders’ finishing positions will give a strong indication of the form of the podium contenders.

Stage 8 (Dole to Lausanne, 184 km, Hilly)

The terrain selected for the passage through Jura, prior to the race’s entry into Switzerland, isn’t designed to favour the climbers. Their time will come. However, the puncheurs who specialise in explosive efforts should relish a short and steep climb that’s new to the Tour: this springboard counting 1 kilometre with a 12% incline will launch the pick of them towards potential success on the heights above “the Olympic capital”.

Stage 9 (Aigle to Chatel les Portes du Soleil, 183 km, Mountain)

A demanding week comes to an end with the first authentic mountain test. The riders will have to adjust to a new tempo on the consecutive stages in Switzerland although these won’t push them to their limits. A breakaway group with a good balance of riders could well take advantage of this comparatively gentle entry into the Alps. In the final, a strong rider could impose himself on the Pas de Morgins and take victory in Châtel.

Rest Day

Stage 10 (Morzine les Portes du Soleil to Megéve, 184 km, Hilly)

Taking place the day after the rest day, this stage features breathtaking mountain scenery, especially when it runs alongside Lake Geneva before heading towards Megève. The route winds its way through a series of valleys and should culminate with a battle between the race’s strong men from the one-kilometre banner. The finish line is located at the altiport like on the Critérium du Dauphiné 2020.

Stage 11 (Albertville to Col du Granon, 149 km, Mountain)

None of the contenders for the yellow jersey can afford a slip-up today. The climbs are tightly packed, starting with the Montvernier hairpins, then continuing with the crossing of the Télégraphe and Galibier passes. After passing through Serre-Chevalier, 10 kilometres of climbing at an average of more than 9% remain to reach the 2,413-metre Col du Granon, which was the Tour’s highest finishing point for 25 years.

Stage 12 (Briancon to Alpe d‘Huez, 166 km, Mountain)

There’s a nod to history here as well as a desire to close the Battle of the Alps on a route tailor-made for the best climbers. It’s an exact replica of the Briançon-Alpe d’Huez stage of 1986, with the ascent of the Galibier once again on the programme, followed by the climb of the Col de la Croix de Fer, before tackling the 21 hairpins leading up to the Isère resort. It will provide an intermediate assessment of the state of play.

Stage 13 (Bourf d‘Oisans to Saint-Étienne, 193 km, Flat)

It’s fair to assume that an important episode in the battle for the green jersey will be played out in the home of Les Verts, the nickname of Saint-Étienne’s illustrious, green-shirted football team. A profile without any significant difficulty should, in theory, allow the teams that are focused on sprint finishes to make hay today. On stages of this type, breakaway riders will have little room for manoeuvres but they can still hope for the best.

Stage 14 (Saint-Étienne to Mende, 195 km, Hilly)

The route never climbs very high but the physical demands on the riders will be almost unceasing as they race from Saint-Étienne to Mende. This trek through the departments of Loire, Haute-Loire and Lozère will push the most robust riders into action. Then, on the Jalabert Montée de la Croix Neuve leading up to the airfield above Mende, there’s likely to be two battles: the first between the breakaway riders and the second of the overall favourites.

Stage 15 (Rodez to Carcassonne, 200 km, Flat)

The road to Carcassonne is often hilly and the ups and downs that lead to it can favour breakaways. But, on this occasion, the route has been designed to suit the sprinters’ teams, provided they work hard to control the day’s attackers who still might manage to produce a surprise.

Rest Day

Stage 16 (Carcasonne to Foix, 179 km, Hilly)

The first day in the Pyrenees could be a good moment for breakaway riders, provided they’re well equipped to deal with the mountains, of course. To celebrate a victory in Foix, the riders will first have to deal with the climb to the Port de Lers and then make their move on the Mur de Péguère. The 20 or so kilometres from the summit towards the administrative centre of the Ariège aren’t particularly testing.

 Stage 17 (Saint-Gaudens to Peyragudes, 130 km, Mountain)

 The scenario is as sumptuous for the spectators as it is demanding for the leaders who will have to defend their positions. After crossing the Col d’Aspin and the Hourquette d’Ancizan, attacks could come as early as the climb to the Col d’Azet. And in the final section, even the best climbers might flounder when tackling the steep gradients towards the Peyragudes altiport – the third runway to success in the 2022 Tour!

 Stage 18 (Lourdes to Hautacam, 143 km, Mountain)

 The last mountain test presents all kinds of possibilities. Unexpected collapses, ambushes and twists of all kinds could be in the cards thanks to the linking of the Aubisque and Spandelles passes, the latter appearing on the route for the first time, followed by the final ascent to Hautacam. There’s simply no respite. If the leading positions haven’t been secured by this point, the Tour’s biggest battle could be played out on this final Pyrenean stage.

 Stage 19 (Castelnau-Magnoac to Cahors, 189 km, Flat) 

Curiously, after passing through the departments of Gers and Tarn-et-Garonne, the Tour’s sojourn in the Lot offers a nod back to the race’s opening days: the castle of Cayx, located close to Cahors, belongs to the Danish royal family. Among their subjects riding in the peloton, there should be no lack of sprinters who are capable of shining in Cahors.

Stage 20 (Lacapelle-Marival to Rocamadour, 40 km, ITT)

Performing well in a time trial at the end of the Tour always requires a certain kind of alchemy, deriving from a rider’s degree of freshness after three weeks of racing, the extent of their motivation given their possible finishing position in the overall classification and their intrinsic qualities in this solo discipline. Added to that, in 2022, there will be a finale with two climbs on the way to the high point of Rocamadour.

Stage 21 (Paris, 112 km, Flat)

The Champs-Élysées, the traditional finishing point for the final stage of the Tour de France since 1975, will be the setting for an unprecedented double-bill, hosting not only the prestigious finale of the men’s race but also the start of the historic women’s event. Prior to the Tour’s grand sprinting finale, the first stage of the first edition of the Women’s Tour de France with Zwift will be held on the final circuit in the heart of Paris.