Riders to Follow

Now that the start-list has been hopefully finalized without any Covid disruption, we shall have a look at the major riders who will be on show for the next 3 and a half weeks.

The starting teams with their ‘regular’ jerseys for the grand depart in Copenhagen.

A brief depiction of the 21 stages profile of the tour stages

As such the 2022 Tour will consist of:

  • 1 cobblestone ( pavés stages)

  • 2 Time trials

  • 5 flat stages with a bunch sprint not promised in any of them

  • 6 hilly stages

  • 7 mountain stages!

Stage winners:

This is not going to be a sprinters tour. Most team should be congratulated for leaving their main sprint team home and even a big applause should be given to those who left out their main sprinters.

One of the main attractions of the first week will be the stage 5 pavés stage in Arenberg. There is whole host of riders would could pretend to victory however many will be on duty to protect their leaders. Free of any duty and looking to aim for stage victory will be Inter-Marché Wanty Gobert’s Petit, Kristoff, Vander Hoorn and Zimmermann. Trek Segafredo is another team with the weapon to hurt here with Mads Pedersen, Stuyven and expert gravel rider Quinn Simmons.

Quick Step’s Yves Lampaert and Kasper Asgreen will be free to try their own things. We can expect Mathieu Van Der Poel to force things up here with the help of his teammates Micheal Gogl. Hugo Hofstetter and Anthony Turgis of Arkea Samsic and Total Direct Energies represents France’s best hope. Finally it would be unwise to ignore expert paves riders like Gianni Moscon of Astana , John Degenkolb of Dsm and of course Inoes’s recent Paris Roubaix winner , Dylan Van Baarle.

Wout Van Aert and Küng having a go at this year’s Paris Roubaix

The two time trials represents nearly 55 km of solo rides and is no joke, while Danish riders ,Mads Pedersen, Kasper Asgreen and Magnus Cort Nielsen will be dreaming of wearing Yellow at home, The two rather flattime trial will be a real play ground for Filippo Ganna. His biggest threat remains the formidable Wout Van Aert. Swiss duo of Stephan Küng and Bisseger will also relish their chances. Finally Roglic and Pogacar will probably be the last riders to take down both circuit and could use that as an advantage to make the best time.

Roglic will have a bad experience of the 2020 time trial…

 

Tadej Pogacar turned the race upside down in a time trial in 2020

The total of 5 flat stages is an eye-wash. The likelihood of échelons in the first 2 stages combined with a categorised climb 10km from the stage 4 finishing threatened certainty of a bunch sprint finish. The other 2 flat stages (19th and 21st stage) seems quieter and more straightforward affairs but the presence of actual pure sprinters by that time is very unlikely.

It has been made no secret that Mads Pedersen is aiming for his first Tour De France Stage victory in Denmark. As much as his team will make the race hard to eliminate pure sprinters, it will be impossible to get rid of Wout Van Aert. Along with the two time trials, Wout Van Aert could win all the flat stages!

Hoping for bunch finishes will be Quick Step’s Fabio Jakobsen. Alpecin Fenix, Team Bike Exchange and Intermarché Wanty Goubert (IWG)will not mind things going either way. Alpecin Felix can blindly trust Jasper Philipsen or Mathieu Van Der Poel to bring them a stage victory. The same could be said for (IWG) with Kristoff and half the other team.

Team Bike exchange could also pretend to the same except that their two main men : Dylan Groenewegen and Micheal Matthews are far from their best form. The former is possibly the first rider of the peloton dropped when the gradient elevates while the second, although remains one of the most versatile riders seems to have lost his top sprint legs to win a stage.

MVDP vs WVA .We hope to see a lot of this in the first week of the tour.

Hilly stages represent a mixture of stages with medium mountains categorised 2 maximum or punchy finishes. There are some experts when it comes to punchy finishes in this peloton. Apart from the Overall favourites ( Pogacar, Roglic, Martinez , Vlasov…), Van der Poel, Dylan Teuns, Baglioli, Cosnefroy , Bettiol, Barguil, and Vuillermoz are among the best puncheurs in the world.   While Wout Van Aert and Matthews multi purpose abilities to claim stage finished have been metioned, there is one particular rider that should not be forgotten. CALEB EWAN! Yes, he can also climb. Remember Giro stage 1 or Milan san Remo? Even though he is without a proper sprint train here, he will have his say in final sprints as will Peter Sagan. Both are experienced riders that know who to take wheel. As for medium mountain stages, the fight will be between Baroudeurs. It is difficult to predict them but those with the most experience are Cattaneo, Verona, Mohoric, Mollema, LatourRaphael Guerreiro and the whole of remains of the Lotto Soudal Team.   Finally in the same mould as Wout Van Aert but with much much more freedom will be Magnus Cort Nielsen. The Danish had an exceptional performance in last year Vuelta. Winning 3 stages and finishing 2nd of the last time trial and even 3rd of bunch sprint. After an early season injury, the moustache showed some of this frightening form towards the end of the Giro and should be the true Danish Hero of this tour.

 Fight for the Maillot à Pois:

The KOM jersey is a legendary jersey which has lost a bit of its vibe due to the fact that the last winners also happened to be the Maillot Jaune. 

Romain Bardet and Thibault Pinot who are both coming to the tour without the weight of expectation could change this trend. We can also expect a lot of ‘Attaque de Pierre Rolland’ as well as other riders like Vuillermoz and even Nairo Quintana.   It will be very interesting to follow Trek Segafredo’s young Quinn Simmons. We have not seen a lot of the American Muscle in Europe yet. In a season mares by illness , he managed to win the KOM rather comfortably in one week races Tirreno -Adriatico and Tour De Suisse.   The Maillot Vert.

The green jersey seems promised to Wout Van Aert. However, his presence in a team with two of the races contenders might hold him back in some stages. This is where the likes of Peter Sagan and Michael Matthews will bounce. Given how Dylan Groenewegen gets over climbs, it will not take long for Matthews to be his team’s main man.Michael Matthews Blingo is a past green jersey wearer

Le Maillot Jaune: Tadej Pogacar has been the strongest rider on the planet for the past two years and it is not expected to change overnight. 

Primoz Roglic does however remains a very serious contender. And we should not be mistaken by the fact that he has not been able to win the last Tour De France due to mixture if circumstances. The last time the Slovenians battle it out was in 2020 and at no point until the final timetrial , Roglic seemed on the back foot.A lot is expected from Jonas Vingegaard, he will more of an asset to Roglic for now rather than a double spear weapon by Team Jumbo Visma.

Ben O’Connor remains the best business of the last year. He has developed from a stage hunter through a top 10 contenders to a genuine podium contender. Had it not been for a positive Covid test jn Switzerland, Vlasov could be have talked on the same level as Roglic. The former Astana man also pocess a devastating sprint. Ineos is coming with a rather confusing team, their best best rider seem to be the one with the poorest form.  

Indeed more was expected from Dani Martinez in the tour De Suisse while he was surprisingly dropped in the early climbs. Geraint Thomas and Adam Yates will try to hold the Britain flag as much as possible, but it is hard to see them upsetting the above named riders.  

Team Bahrain’s duo of Damiano Caruso and Jack Haig will try to fight for a podium place.   David Gaudu, Enric Mas and Jacob Fuglsang are expected to complete the top 10. A big surprise could come in the form of young American, Neilson Powless who had a fantastic Tour De Suisse.  

  Overall predictions with a total of 10 stars to be distributed.

  ★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆ : Primoz Roglic L’union fait la force! He remains a wonderful rider that will have learn from his mistake. Expect him to turn his frustration of that past two years into rage. At his side, he will have one of the best assembled team we have ever seen!  

★★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆: Tadej Pogacar: he will be the logical favorite in the odds again. While any concerns over his team support was quickly swiped away last year, this time Team Jumbo Visma and even Ineos - Grenadiers will teat Pogacar’s Team UAE to its rupture point.  

★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ : Jonas Vingegaard: was it anything to happen to the Slovenians, the danish is by a far the next best thing. We can guarantee that he will entertain us with with interviews! Primoz Roglic and Jonas Vingegaard got each other's back

Also Available is A velogames guide in 2 parts :

Part 1

Part 2

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