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Tour de France Preview: Pogacar Leads the Method As soon as Once more

The Tour de France is getting ready to roll out of the beginning gate once more on Friday, with this yr’s race set to characteristic a dominant younger champion, a climb up the well-known Alpe d’Huez and the debut of a multistage ladies’s race after the boys’s occasion concludes.

Here’s what we learn about this yr’s version:

USA Community will present many of the phases in the US, with NBC leaping in for Stage 2 — the primary mass-start highway stage on Saturday — and the ultimate two phases. Peacock will stream each stage of the race.

Do not stay in the US? Different networks with rights to the race embody ITV in Britain, SBS in Australia, FloBikes in Canada, France TV in France, ARD in Germany. For these from Slovenia, the house nation of the Tour favourite Tadej Pogacar and his countryman and rival Primoz Roglic, click on over to RTV.

The 2022 Tour is resuming one in all its trendy traditions by beginning in a rustic aside from France. This yr, for the primary time, that nation is Denmark, which can host the primary stage: an eight-mile time trial by means of the center of Copenhagen that, sure, features a move by the Little Mermaid statue. (No, not the arriviste one, the unique.) The time trial begins at 10 am Japanese on Friday, a day sooner than regular for journey causes. Saturday and Sunday’s flat phases are in Denmark as effectively.

Stage 5 on Wednesday will throw riders their first curveball, with stretches of cobblestone roads that they need to negotiate. The final time the tour tried that, there have been crashes and accidents aplenty.

After a fast go to to Belgium, one other tour nation that’s not France, the race will start in earnest within the Alps (each French and Swiss), beginning on July 8.

The marquee stage might be July 14 — Bastille Day, no coincidence — when the riders traverse the picturesque and punishing 21 switchbacks of Alpe d’Huez for the primary time in 4 years. Earlier than they even get to the hilltop end at Alpe d’Huez, although, they’ll have climbed mountains whose names strike concern into the hearts of even the hardiest skilled cyclists: the Col du Galibier (for the second time in two days) and the Col de la Croix de Fer.

The ultimate key phases might be July 20 and 21 within the Pyrenees, together with a climb of the Col d’Aubisque and a stage-ending ascent to the ski resort of Hautacam. If the race continues to be within the steadiness, will probably be determined by a 25-mile time trial ending in Rocamadour on July 23. The ultimate day would be the primarily ceremonial procession on the Champs-Élysées in Paris on July 24.

The 2-time defending champion, Tadej Pogacar of Slovenia, is the odds-on favourite to make it three in a row. Using for UAE Staff Emirates, Pogacar gained two shorter excursions earlier within the season in addition to a giant one-day race in Italy and reveals no indicators of slipping. And he is nonetheless solely 23.

His important rival ought to once more be his countryman Primoz Roglic. He gained an necessary warm-up tour, the Critérium du Dauphiné, and at age 32 could also be beginning to run out of probabilities to win the large one.

Final yr’s runner-up, Jonas Vingegaard of Denmark, must be thought of a contender, too, particularly if Roglic, his teammate on the Jumbo-Visma squad, falters. Vingegaard completed second to Roglic on this yr’s Dauphiné.

On the similar time he was profitable the final two yellow jerseys, Pogacar was profitable the polka dot jersey as finest climber as effectively. This prize is extra generally gained by a climbing specialist, nonetheless, and two Frenchmen, Thibaut Pinot and Romain Bardet, the 2019 winner, are candidates this time round.

Final yr’s winner of the inexperienced jersey — which fits to the race’s finest sprinter — was the veteran Mark Cavendish of Britain. However with Cavendish left off his Fast Step crew this yr, Wout van Aert of Belgium turns into the clear favourite in that specific facet competitors.

Pogacar is amazingly nonetheless not solely younger sufficient to win the white jersey for finest younger rider, however younger sufficient that he might be eligible the subsequent two years as effectively. Barring an harm, he looks like a lock to win it, even when he does not carry the trophy in Paris in a month.

The Tour is launching the Tour de France Femmes, a ladies’s race that can start on the Champs-Élysées the day the boys’s Tour ends there and proceed for eight days.

The ultimate stage, although, is the actual eye-opener: a punishing climb to the Planche des Belles Filles ski station within the Vosges Mountains.

At 39, Annemiek van Vleuten of the Netherlands is favored to cap an excellent profession with a win within the new occasion.

There had been a Tour for girls, beneath the title Tour de France Féminin, for a couple of years within the Nineteen Eighties earlier than it was scrapped. Lately, the Tour has hosted one- or two-day races for girls, however that is the primary full-stage race in many years.

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