Tour de France 2022 route: Wind, cobbles and brutal mountaintop finishes makes for treacherous race

Tadej Pogacar won the Tour de France for a second consecutive time at the age of 22 in July, 2021. Tim de Waele/Getty Images

Tour de France organisers have designed a highly treacherous route for the men's 2022 edition which will feature rides in gusting winds, cobblestones and punishing mountain stages.

The race will start with a 13km individual time trial in Copenhagen before the second stage takes the peloton over the 18km Great Belt bridge.

"It's windy 364 days a year, here," Tour director Christian Prudhomme told reporters on Thursday. "This Tour can be lost as early as the second day."

Those who get past the three-day opening block in Denmark and fourth stage through the Flanders hills must cope with the fifth stage through cobbled sectors between Lille and Arenberg.

That is when light climbers are expected to suffer on a day that could be marred by crashes and mechanicals due to the tricky terrain which usually favours one-day race specialists.

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"To go through these stages and hope to win the Tour you will need to be a versatile rider and have a strong team at your disposal," Tour deputy director Thierry Gouvenou said.

The first test for climbers will come on the seventh stage with the first of five summit finishes at the top of the Planche des Belles Filles, where this year's defending champion Tadej Pogacar effectively claimed his first title in 2020 by upsetting fellow Slovenian Primoz Roglic in the final time trial.

Pogacar, who hammered his rivals in the mountains in the last edition, has also proved he is a strong one-day classic rider, having won the Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Giro di Lombardia Monument classics this year and, given the nature of the route, it is hard to see beyond him for a Tour favourite.

The race will reach its highest point at the top of the lung-busting ascent to the Col du Galibier, 2,607 metres above sea level, on the way to a summit finish at the Col du Granon (2,413 metres) after a punishing 11.3km effort at an average gradient of 9.3%.

The 12th stage starts from Briancon and ends atop the iconic Alpe d'Huez (13.8km at 8.1%), taking the same route as the 1986 Tour when five-time winner Bernard Hinault and Greg LeMond crossed the line hand-in-hand for a famous one-two.

The Frenchman had said he would help his La Vie Claire team win the race a year after benefiting from the American's help in the previous edition.

"Both should be on the Tour for this stage next year," Prudhomme said of the former riders.

After two brutal stages in the Pyrenees, the race will be completed with a 40km individual time trial in Southwestern France and the mostly processional ride to the Champs Elysees in Paris.

Stage guide:

July 1. Stage 1 - Copenhagen - Copenhagen, individual time trial 13km

July 2. Stage 2 - Roskilde (Denmark) - Nyborg (Denmark), 199km

July 3. Stage 3 - Vejle (Denmark) - Sonderborg (Denmark), 182km

July 4. Transfer to France

July 5. Stage 4 - Dunkirk - Calais, 172km

July 6. Stage 5 - Lille - Arenberg Porte du Hainaut, 155km

July 7. Stage 6 - Binche (Belgium) - Longwy, 220km

July 8. Stage 7 - Tomblaine - La Super Planche des Belles Filles, 176km

July 9. Stage 8 - Dole - Lausanne (Switzerland), 184km

July 10. Stage 9 - Aigle (Switzerland) - Chatel Les Portes du Soleil, 183km

July 11. Rest day

July 12. Stage 10 - Morzine - Megeve, 148km

July 13. Stage 11 - Albertville - Col du Granon, 149km

July 14. Stage 12 - Briancon - L'Alpe d'Huez, 166km

July 15. Stage 13 - Bourg d'Oisans - St Etienne, 193km

July 16. Stage 14 - St Etienne - Mende, 195km

July 17. Stage 15 - Rodez - Carcassonne, 200km

July 18. Rest day

July 19. Stage 16 - Carcassonne - Foix, 179km

July 20. Stage 17 - St Gaudens - Peyragudes, 130km

July 21. Stage 18 - Lourdes - Hautacam, 143km

July 22. Stage 19 - Castelnau-Magnoac - Cahors, 189km

July 23. Stage 20 - Lacapelle Marival - Rocamadour, individual time trial, 40km

July 24. Stage 21 - Paris La Defense Arena - Paris Champs Elysees, 112km.