The wind, the cobblestones, the return of the Col de Granon and the Alpe d’Huez and the classic Pyrenean Peyregudes and Hautacam will be on the menu of the next edition of the Tour from France, which will begin on July 1, 2022 in Copenhagen and whose route was announced this Thursday.
The northernmost edition of the race, which in 2023 will celebrate 120 years with a start in Bilbao, It will cross four mountain ranges next year, the Vogos, the Alps, the Massif Central and the Pyrenees, and four countries, Denmark, France, Belgium and Switzerland.
Six flat stages, seven rugged and six high mountain, with five finishes up high, two individual time trials make up a route of more than 3,200 kilometers that culminates on July 24 with the traditional walk through the Champs-Élysées in Paris.
The peloton will ascend fewer ports than in the last edition, which ended with the victory of the Slovenian Tadej Pogacar, but will have more arrivals aloft, 5 and a similar mileage in the fight against chrono.
The wind and the cobblestones will be the judges of the first week, which ends with the promotion to La Planche des Belles Filles, first mountain arrival.
The second, which will take place in part in Switzerland, will be marked by the Alps, which have two key moments, the return to Col de Granon, promoted only in 1986 and that promises to be one of the sensations of the edition, the eve of arrival at Alpe d’Huez, after four years of absence.
Return from Alpe d’Huez
Never, since the 70s, have the 21 curves of the most popular of the Tour’s climbs been absent from the route for so many years, so the organizers have decided to return and do it on July 14, the day of the French national holiday.
The Tour will head south, where the third week, after a journey through the Central massif, They will end in the Pyrenees, with two arrivals aloft, in Peyragudes and in Hautacam.
Everything will be pending of the last time trial, 40 rugged kilometers ending at the Rocamadour sanctuary.
“It is a Tour that has many traps. There are many places where you can get lost and, obviously, you will have to go to win it in the mountains”, assured the director of the test Christian Prudhomme.
The race will start with 11 kilometers against the clock through the streets of Copenhagen on a Friday, something exceptional to allow a day of transfer to France.
The second stage will be marked by the wind, with 18 of the last 20 kilometers over the Baltic, taking advantage of the marine bridges that Denmark has, before a third day that will have to be judged at the “sprint”.
After the transfer to France, the wind will be key again in the fourth stage, which runs partly in front of the English Channel, before the cobblestones make an appearance in the fifth.
It is about 19 kilometers divided into 11 cobbled sectors, five of them unpublished, that will give excitement to the stage between Lille and Arenberg.
The Federer, Nadal and Djokovic of cycling
The organization also wanted to look for rough ends, conducive to powerful and courageous runners, such as the Dutch Mathieu van der Poel, the Belgian Wout van Aert and the French Julien Alaphilippe, winner of the last two World Cups, which largely marked the last edition.
“We have the Federer, Nadal and Djokovic of cycling, we have to take advantage of it,” said Prudhomme, which marked four good stages for his profile, the sixth ending in Lowny, the eighth in Lausanne, the tenth in Megève and the fourteenth in Mende.
They all have a steep end, but the race will be won, on the high peaks, such as Granon, with its 11.3 kilometers at 9.2% unevenness and whose summit stands at 2,413 meters, the second highest in history, only surpassed by Galibier (2,642 meters), which will also be ascended that day.
Scene of an epic 1986 duel between American Greg Lemond and Frenchman Bernard Hinault, who wore the yellow jersey for the last time, the stage ended with triumph of the Spanish Eduardo Chozas.
The Alpe d’Huez, to be climbed after the Galibier, for the second time, and the Croix de Fer, will be another important point, as two high-altitude arrivals in the Pyrenees, Peyregudes, after Aspin, Ancizan and Louron, and Hautacam, after Aubisque and the unprecedented Spandelles.