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Tour de France 2022: a crash course

Everything you need to know about this year’s cycling race  

Get ready for Tour de France 2022. Whether you’re a first time viewer of the iconic bike race or a seasoned pro who wants the scoop on this year’s route, here’s the most important info to help you follow the riders all the way to the finish line. From spotting the key stages and must-see moments to understanding what the different coloured jerseys mean and how cycling teams are organised, here our professional cyclist shares everything you need to know to enjoy the Tour.


Brodie Chapman
professional cyclist  

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The Race

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Tour de France cycling teams

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2022 route and key stages

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Tour de France
jerseys

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The 2022 contenders

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How to watch the Tour

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The Race

The Tour de France is a three-week race, taking in 21 stages (with a few rest days in between). The race is won by an overall accumulated lowest time across road stages, time trials, flat days and mountain passes. There are 22 teams in the race, although the classifications and winners are awarded individually. This year, the race starts in Denmark with the Grand Départ before heading for a lap around France, taking in the key mountains of the Alps and Pyrenees, and ending as always, in Paris. 

Tour de France cycling teams

The top-level World Tour cycling teams all receive an automatic invite to the Tour de France, and then there are four ‘wildcard’ second division (pro continental) teams. All of the top-level teams will be making this race one of their main goals of the year and that acute focus is going to elevate the performance of the riders as well as the support that they receive from their teams. 

While each team will be starting with eight athletes, behind the scenes there will be at least twice as many people and, for some teams, triple the number of people following the race to take care of the riders and their equipment. Most teams will be travelling with two or three sports directors, physiotherapists, five soigneurs (massage therapists), one doctor, three or four mechanics and a host of other staff that will fill numerous other roles such as driving, nutrition, media and logistics.

2022 route and key stages

Start: Copenhagen, Denmark

The 2022 Tour de France kicks off in Denmark for their special Grand Départ, with the first three stages taking place in Copenhagen and surrounding islands. On Friday 1st July, the race will get underway with a time trial from the historic capital city. The time trial format is each rider on his own, racing only against the clock. It makes for fantastic viewing, where you get to see 200 riders whiz past at around 25mph! The host city will be in full colours for the event – expect parties, festivities and lots of freebies from the publicity caravan for all the spectators.

Where to go: Head out to Copenhagen for the first weekend of the race and watch the exhilarating time trial.  

Stage 4 - 5: Northern France

After three stages, the race heads to France, starting the week in historic Dunkirk and heading into local hills before finishing the day in the seaside town of Calais. From here, the peloton will take on the historic cobbles of the Paris Roubaix race, as it heads through the Arenberg Forest. Expect nothing less than blood, sweat and tears from this stage.

The first week in France also sees riders dip into Belgium and Switzerland, through the Ardennes and Jura Mountains in stages 6-8, before the first (much-needed) rest day in Les Portes du Soleil.

Where to go: For a truly brutal feat of sportsmanship, watch the Paris Roubaix route from Lille to Arenberg on 6th July.  

Stage 10 - 12: The Alps

Week two of the race brings on the Alps. High mountains here we come! Head to Albertville, host city of the 1992 Winter Olympics, and venture out from there to watch the mountain stages where we will see the decisive Col du Galibier on stage 11 and the summit finish of Alpe d’Huez on stage 12. 

Start the day in picturesque Briançon, a Tour favourite (this year will be its 35th time hosting the race), and the highest city in France at an altitude over 1300 metres. Unsurprisingly, the streets are narrow and steep on the hillside, as they wind through the fortified centre. The hamlet features a few UNESCO World Heritage Sites, so allow some extra time to enjoy the Fortifications of Vauban before watching the cycling. The caravans and celebrations will line the mountainside roads. Get there early to partake in the day’s fun, meet fans from all over the world and cheer on weary riders as they take on some of the hardest climbs in the world. The Tour might not be won on these stages, but it certainly can be lost.

Where to go: Col du Granon at over 2400m of altitude will be the highest stage finish of the Tour. It promises an exciting show and is a great spot to see the riders while enjoying mesmerising views of the Alps. 

Stage 16 -18: The Pyrenees

In the third week, the race will head south to the Pyrenees. The stage that could make or break the race is the final mountain stage, up the Hautacam. Starting in beautiful Lourdes, 143 kilometres of road awaits, with the Col d’Aubisque and the Col de Spandelles ahead of the final 13km climb, with a gruelling average of 7.8% elevation. Here we are likely to see the overall winner decided of the race.

Where to go: Take a leaf out of the riders' book with a rest day in the fortress city of Carcassonne. 

The finish line: Paris

Only another individual time trial and a flat stage await the riders before the transfer to Paris, for the last ceremonial stage through the streets. The riders will do laps around the main drag of the Champs-Élysées, a spectacle made of dreams, as the fans thunder and the sprinters test themselves one last time, before the finish line is crossed and champagne is popped as the sun sets over the French capital.

Where to go: As well as on the famous the Champs-Élysées, you can also get a good view of the action along Rue de Rivoli. 

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Tour de France jerseys: what the colours mean

There are four key ‘leader jerseys’ in the race. The first and most important is the general classification yellow jersey or maillot jaune. This is for the outright race leader, meaning the rider that has accumulated the lowest overall time added up each day. It can start with seconds splitting riders but will end with minutes and hours. 
The green jersey is the points/sprinters jersey, designated for sprint stages and intermediate mid-race sprint bonuses. 
The polka dot jersey, on the other hand, distinguishes the best climber, with values being accumulated by being the first over key mountain passes and climbs. Hence, this one is known as the “King of the Mountains”. 
Lastly, the white jersey is for the best young rider, under 26 years of age, and parallels the general classification but is only available for the youngsters. 

The 2022 contenders

Yellow jersey 

Tadej Pogačar: The Tour de France winner for the last two years, the young Slovenian riding for team UAE Emirates will have a target on his back, going in as the pre-race favourite. 
Primož Roglič: Another Slovenian rider, Roglič has come so close to winning the Tour for the last few years, he will be back with something to prove. His strong team Jumbo Visma will be all in to support him. 
Richard Carapaz: The Tokyo Olympic gold medalist finished third last year, and the team Ineos rider from Ecuador will be ready this year to improve that podium position. His team is always strong, taking the win for many consecutive years, and we expect to see their strength in numbers show over the course of the race. 

Polka dot jersey 

Wout Poels: Finishing second in this classification last year, the Dutch rider has always shown strength in the mountains. If he is given free rein to attack and capture the points for this jersey, we can expect to see him shine, especially early on in the race. 
David Gaudu: The polka dot jersey has always been a favourite goal for French riders and young David Gaudu is no different. Having had a breakout 2021 season, the spirited rider from the Groupama–FDJ team will be on the hunt for this maillot à pois. 
Jonas Vingegaard: Not only did he finish the overall race in second place last year, the race starts in his home country of Denmark. Although he will mainly be in support of team leader Primoz Roglic, his own prowess will still shine through, and we can be sure to see him looking to secure this classification. 

Green jersey 

Wout Van Aert: The Jumbo Visma rider is a top class sprinter, climber and time trialist, and we can expect to see major moves from him throughout the three weeks, putting up fierce competition for the green jersey. 
Mathieu Van der Poel: Cycling heritage, pure panache and guts for days. What else needs to be said of MvdP? There's a good chance we’ll see him in the green jersey early in the race, and without a lead contender for the General Classification on this team, the focus could be to keep the points classification. 
Michael Matthews: The Australian rider has long put the green jersey in his crosshairs at the Tour de France. His flamboyant style and boyish attitude are great to watch, so keep an eye out for the BikeExchange rider.   

White jersey 

Most of the riders above will be battling for this jersey. Pogačar (23 years old) and Vingegaard (25 years old) are always hot contenders. 

How to watch the Tour de France 2022 on TV

The Tour de France is one of the most-watched sporting events in the world, and is available to view worldwide. In the UK, the Tour will be broadcast live on ITV and Eurosport. Go to letour.fr for the full list of broadcast partners globally. For on-demand streaming, try GCN+ or Eurosport and YouTube channels providing daily highlights include Velon and Cycling News. Plus, you can check local cycling media for analysis and insider info.
Want to watch the Tour in person? Head to one of the key stops listed above for an unforgettable time.  

Written by Brodie Mai Chapman an Australian professional cyclist riding at the top level of the sport

“Hello cycling fans! I’m 30 years old, currently racing for the women's WorldTeam FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope. I am on the long list for the six-rider team that we will send to the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift, but being on a French team means that it will be highly competitive to get one of those six places. I will need to prove myself throughout the early part of the season, showing that I will be a valuable and reliable teammate. I grew up watching the men’s Tour de France, and I’m thrilled we get to race it this year too.”  

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