The Tour is upon us again. Can it match last year’s epic? Can Cav overtake Merckx? Can Pogačar show his spring form, after time off with a broken wrist? What do you think?
My money is on Vingegaard this year but I hope it is a close race. Jumbo Visa for the team prize no doubt.
Yep. The early climbing might change things, but can’t see past the Vingegaard/Jumbo-Visma lot this year.
In terms of wine-related stuff, we have Txakoli to start (coastal Basque region), followed by some Bordeax on stage 7 (Sauternes and Graves, as far as I can tell), then a right bank stage 8. Stage 12 finishes in Beaujolais. Stage 18 passes through Chamberry.
In recent years the team classification has mostly been won by teams without a rider in serious contention for the GC, primarily because those teams burn so many domestiques in the mountains to protect the leader. Only once in the last decade has the GC and team award gone to the same team (Froome/Sky in 2017). During the Sky era dominance, Movistar often won the team award. I should add that Jumbo Visma did win the green and KOM jerseys last year along with the GC, which is a bit of a team award of its own…
Agree that it’s hard to look past Vingegaard in GC unless Pog arrives with his A game, which would be a great spectacle if he did.
Cycling has a great collection of young superstars and established names (even if not all at the Tour). The likes of Pogačar, Evenepoel and van Aert who can seemingly do everything, plus the more specialist stage racers like Vingegaard and Roglič. Then there’s van der Poel, would love to see what he could do in the mountains one day if he targeted it. Juan Ayuso also looks an incredible talent. As always, with the caveat that we can only hope they’re all clean.
As always, and for the usual reasons, I’m really looking forward to it. The racing itself, the stunning photography and travelogue, the chance to learn more about French history, culture, etc, and the sheer anarchy provided by the spectators on the mountain stages !
Like the bookies, I reckon it’ll be a race between two riders and two teams. As dominant as Vingegaard was in the Dauphine, if Pogacar, on his return from injury, can bring his form from the early season classics to the race then it should be a spectacular battle for the Maillot Jaune.
As for the teams, yes, Jumbo are still strong but UAE, whose numbers were weakened by Covid last year, have one hell of a team this year too. Of course, crashes, injuries and illness are likely to play a part in the end result too so who knows who’ll come out on top by the time the peloton reaches Paris. Not me, that’s for sure, but I’ll be fascinated to find out.
As for the stages, it’s impossible to predict where the race will be won or lost but on a personal note I’m really excited to finally see a finish on top of the Puy de Dome ( for the first time in my viewing history if memory serves ).
Needless to say, bring it on and may the strongest rider win.
Edit - fingers crossed, everything will be in doubt until the finish of the penultimate stage in Alsace !
Hmmm, I was unemployed last year and enjoyed watching quite a lot of this, for the first time ever.
Not sure how I’ll cope with just the highlights. I can’t remember, was all streamed on ITV?
Once again, ITV4 will be providing comprehensive live coverage of the race.
Really looking forward to this year’s race. Hoping it’ll be a proper battle into the last week between Vingegaard and Pogacar, and if Hindley or Skjelmose or anyone else can get involved too, all the better.
I was on Alpe D’Huez for Bastille Day last year and it was one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life. Gutted I’m not there again this year.
@embee you have said it all and much better than I could have done….!
Getting quite excited for all the reasons you said. And just watching the compilation programme of the 2022 edition on Eurosport with a glass of Riesling to get myself going a bit more.
@Brocklehurstj I have a similar but more obsessive experience… having been am armchair fan of le tour and the giro and vuelta previously I have been working very part time this last six months and watching not only the grand tours but the spring classics and the various obscure national tours as well.
Puy-de-Dôme. Ah, we can dream of Pogačar and Vingegaard delivering us this…
Definitely the stage I’m looking forward to most.
I take it you will be in residence on the col de la schlucht on stage 20? It was scary enough in a car last year…
I’m sorely tempted, but I’m not sure about the logistics of flights and work.
Indeed ! More infamously, and at the other end of the spectrum of the highs and lows Le Tour can provide, it was also the stage where Eddie Merckx got punched by a spectator, and lost the tour as a consequence, in the 70’s !
Among the British riders, obviously would like to see Cav get the record.
Fred Wright for a stage win in the British Champion jersey would be very cool, and also for his team to “win one for Gino” would be a poignant reminder that pro cyclists take incredible risks daily at speeds that shouldn’t be possible on a human-powered machine.
Not much British interest in the GC, unless perhaps Pogačar doesn’t have it and Adam Yates takes over as a backup team leader (the UAE team reads like the mountain equivalent of an old-fashioned sprint train). Simon Yates hasn’t raced for a long time, we’ll see.
Shame EF didn’t select Ben Healy, he might have lit up a stage or two.
What about Tom Pidcock? We watched him (on TV) win a mountain bike gold at last Olympics and he stormed it up Alpe d’Huez last year.
Tom Pidcock is a great talent, potential for another stage. He’s incredible going downhill, as he demonstrated when winning on Alpe d’Huez and again winning the Strade Bianchi early this year. Like others, he’s been a bit shaken by the loss of Gino Mader (and Tom’s own teammate being hospitalised after crashing at the same corner as Gino).
Unfortunately he crashed out of the Tirreno-Adriatico shortly after the Strade, had to stay off the bike for concussion protocol and hasn’t really recovered that early season form.
Don’t think he’s yet developed the ability to go toe to toe with the top climbers day after day, but on a given day he’s capable of great things. He still does quite a lot of mountain biking, and will probably have to make a choice between that and road racing at some point, if he wants to be a GC winner.
What are the practicalities of that like? I’ve been to A D’H for a ski week, and don’t recall the road up, or the resort itself, having capacity for 300,000! Do people just go up earlier and camp in the meadows or something?
I think a lot of people do get there a few days before and park/camp near the roadside, and a hell of a lot of spectators cycle up themselves in the morning and back down afterwards.
We only arrived in France the day before (via Geneva and then a hire car) and found it all surprisingly easy. We’d booked a hotel on the same massif, so about an hour’s (beautiful) walk/cable car to Alpe d’Huez but in a village unaffected by road closures. We had breakfast and made it over to the main hill, and enjoyed the brilliant atmosphere until the riders came. Then walked back afterwards to pick the car up and drive to Annecy. That journey was slow initially as we were on the route for the following day’s race as far as Grenoble, but that was as challenging as the whole trip got.
I was expecting the logistics to be a lot more difficult - I think we were lucky to find somewhere to stay nearby where we could drive in and out of easily. And I think the ski resort opening all of the cable cars in multiple directions on race day opens up lots of alternative places to stay overnight.
Thanks for the answer!
This year the riders are visiting where I went skiing this year and last, Combloux, as well as the Three Valleys, where I’ve been a few times previously, which should be a good watch.