Tour de France Preview: Pogacar leads the way once again

The Tour de France prepares to hit the starting gate again on Friday, with this year’s race featuring a dominant young champion, a climb up the famous Alpe d’Huez and the debut of the women’s multi-stage race after the men’s competition. concludes.

Here’s what we know about this year’s edition:

USA Network will show most of the stages in the United States, with NBC jumping into Stage 2 – Saturday’s first mass road stage – and the final two stages. Peacock will be streaming all stages of the race.

Don’t live in the United States? Other networks that have rights to the race include ITV in the UK, SBS in Australia, FloBikes in Canada, France TV in France, ARD in Germany. For those in Slovenia, home of Tour favorite Tadej Pogacar and compatriot and rival Primoz Roglic, click on RTV.

The 2022 Tour will renew one of the modern traditions by starting in a country other than France. This year, for the first time, it’s Denmark, which will host the first stage: an eight-mile time trial in the heart of Copenhagen that, yes, includes a statue of the Little Mermaid. (No, no, the original.) The time trial starts at 10 a.m. Eastern on Friday, a day earlier than usual for travel reasons. Saturday and Sunday flat scenes in Denmark too.

Stage 5 on Wednesday will throw the riders their first curveball, with cobblestone roads they must negotiate. The last time the tour tried it, there were crashes and injuries.

After a quick visit to Belgium, another tourist country that isn’t France, the race will begin in earnest in the Alps (both French and Swiss), starting on July 8.

The marquee stage will be July 14 – Bastille Day, not coincidentally – when the riders tackle the 21 switchbacks of the spectacular and punishing Alpe d’Huez for the first time in four years. Before they reach the top of the Alpe d’Huez, they climb mountains whose names strike fear into even the most hardy professional cyclists: the Col du Galibier (for the second time in two days) and the Col de la Croix de Fer.

The final key stages will be on July 20 and 21 in the Pyrenees, including the Col d’Aubisque climb and the stage-ending climb to the Hautacam ski resort. If the race is still in the balance, it will be decided by a 25-mile time trial that finishes at Rocamadour on July 23. The final day will be essentially a ceremonial march on July 24 on the Champs-Élysées in Paris.

Two-time defending champion Tadej Pogacar of Slovenia is the odds-on favorite for a third consecutive title. Traveling for the UAE team, Pogacar won two short tours earlier in the season, as well as a big one-day race in Italy, and showed no signs of slowing down. And he’s still only 23 years old.

His main opponent should be his compatriot Primoz Roglic again. He won an important warm-up tour, the Critérium du Dauphiné, and at 32, he could be in for a big chance.

Last year’s runner-up, Denmark’s Jonas Wingegaard, should also be considered as a contender, especially if Roglic, his Jumbo-Visma teammate, is on the wane. Wingegaard finished second to Roglich in this year’s Dauphine.

At the same time he was getting the last two yellow jerseys, Pogacar was winning the polka dot jersey as the best climber. This prize is more often won by a climbing specialist, but this time two Frenchmen, Thibaut Pinot and Romain Bardet, the 2019 winner, are candidates.

Last year’s winner of the green jersey – which went to the race’s best sprinter – was veteran Briton Mark Cavendish. But after Cavendish scrapped his Quick Step team this year, Belgium’s Wout van Aert becomes the clear favorite in this particular side’s competition.

Pogacar is amazingly still not only young enough to win the white jersey for best young rider, but young enough to be eligible for the next two years. Barring injury, he looks like a hotshot to win it, even if he doesn’t lift the trophy in Paris for a month.

The Tour kicks off the Tour de France Femmes, a women’s race that will start on the Champs-Élysées on the day the men’s Tour ends and run for eight days.

The final stage, however, is a real eye-opener: the punishing climb to the Planche des Belles Filles ski station in the Vosges Mountains.

39-year-old Anemiek van Vleuten is giving the Netherlands the edge with a win in the new event on a remarkable career.

In the 1980s there was a Tour for women called the Tour de France Féminin for several years before it was cancelled. The Tour has hosted a women’s one- or two-day race in recent years, but this is the first full race in decades.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.