It’s Stage 1 of the Tour de France 2022 with Copenhagen today’s host for the Grande Depart, with the final stage on Sunday 24 July. The expectations are firmly on a three-peat for Slovenian superstar Tadej Pogacar, who hopes to wear yellow once again, with compatriot Primoz Roglic his main competition.
Pogacar’s form is ominous after victories in the Tirreno-Adriatico and the UAE Tour this year, and the unprecedented long-distance solo attack to win the Strade Bianche in March shows there could be fireworks over the next three weeks.
The wildcard of the Tour is Covid: Three teams and about 30 riders pulled out of the Tour de Suisse two weeks ago, with everybody on high alert to avoid a similar fate in the Grand Tour. But Geraint Thomas conceded teams are “less stressed,” with the 2018 Tour champion happy that two or more positive tests no longer lead to automatic team exclusion. The Welsh rider will lean on Ineos teammates to bolster his bid for a second yellow jersey, including Colombian climber Dani Martinez, as well as potential stage winners Adam Yates and Tom Pidcock.
Follow below for live updates, times and reaction from this time trial to kick off the 2022 Tour de France:
Tour de France 2022 talking points: Bahrain-Victorious investigation
On Monday the Bahrain-Victorious team announced a number of riders and staff had their homes searched by police prior to their departure for Copenhagen. It comes after police last year raided the team’s hotel during the Tour, with the team saying the latest searches are a continuation of the same anti-doping investigation, though few details are known. Whether or not more comes to light over the next three weeks remains to be seen.
Jack Rathborn1 July 2022 13:41
Tour de France 2022 talking points: Pressure on Jakobsen?
It has long been QuickStep-Alpha Vinyl’s plan that Fabio Jakobsen and not Mark Cavendish would be their man for the sprints this summer, but confirmation of a Cav-less eight-man squad was still met with disappointment. Cavendish illuminated last year’s Tour with his remarkable run of four victories, a stunning comeback as he matched Eddy Merckx’s all-time record of 34 Tour stage victories, but the Manxman will not be adding to that tally as the ruthless Patrick Lefevere favours the younger man this time. After Cavendish’s superb display in last weekend’s British national road race, Jakobsen – who has fought back from a life-threatening crash at the 2020 Tour of Poland – must surely be feeling the pressure to prove his boss’s decision was right.
Jack Rathborn1 July 2022 13:31
Tour de France 2022 talking points: Threat of Covid looms again
The most obvious factor that could upend this Tour is the rise of Covid-19 cases across the continent once again. The Tour de Suisse, a key warm-up race, was badly hit as almost 30 riders withdrew either because they had contracted the virus, been deemed a close contact, or because their teams pulled out en masse due to cases within their camp. Already QuickStep-Alpha Vinyl have been forced into a change with key domestique Tim Declerq having tested positive just a few days before the Tour, and there is a real fear there will be more cases in the coming days. The UCI has tightened its Covid regulations in response, but will it be enough to keep the peloton safe?
Jack Rathborn1 July 2022 13:19
Tour de France 2022 talking points: Can anyone break up the Pog v Rog show?
A lot has happened in the world since 2019, and Egan Bernal’s victory in that summer’s Tour certainly seems a long, long time ago. Tadej Pogacar has won two Tours since then and such has been his dominance in stage racing since it already seems the natural order of things. The only man who has been able to challenge him has been fellow Slovenian Primoz Roglic, who had seemed so in control of the 2020 Tour until the time trial on the penultimate day. The two start as odds-on favourite and most likely challenger. A case can be made for the likes of Geraint Thomas, Dani Martinez, and Aleksandr Vlasov but can any of them genuinely challenge unless the top two run into trouble?
Jack Rathborn1 July 2022 13:07
Tour de France 2022: Danish police raid cycling team Bahrain Victorious on eve of Grand Depart
Danish police carried out a search at the hotel of cycling team Bahrain Victorious at the request of French authorities on Thursday, Copenhagen Police said in a statement on the eve of the Tour de France Grand Depart.
Authorities searched all team vehicles and the rooms of staff and riders at 5:30 a.m. local time in Brondby. The homes of riders and staff were also searched by police on Monday before their departure for the Tour.
French prosecutors opened a preliminary investigation into doping allegations against Bahrain Victorious after police searched the team’s hotel late in last year’s race.
“Based on a request from the French police, as part of an ongoing investigation in France, we have carried out a search at a hotel in Brondby,” Chief Superintendent Dannie Rise said.
Jack Rathborn1 July 2022 12:55
Tour de France 2022: Stage 2, Saturday 2 July: Roskilde-Nyborg, 202.5km
This long stage could prove pivotal as the peloton traces Denmark’s northern coastline, where crosswinds could split the back and put a serious dent in the hopes of those on the wrong side. Three categorised climbs feature in the middle of the stage before what is set to be a spectacular finale across the Great Belt Bridge
Jack Rathborn1 July 2022 12:40
Tour de France 2022: Stage 1, Friday 1 July: individual time trial, Copenhagen, 13.2km
The Tour usually begins on Saturday but the transfer from this year’s opening three stages in Copenhagen to northern France means an early rest day and a Friday start to accommodate it. A flat time trial through the streets of Copenhagen opens the show with plenty of intricate tight corners, but given it is only over 13km there shouldn’t be huge time gaps created among the leaders. Even so, the pure climbers will be conscious to minimise losses here.
Jack Rathborn1 July 2022 12:25
Tour de France 2022 stage-by-stage guide, route maps and profiles
Standing in his way is the sheer strength and depth of Dutch team Jumbo-Visma, who carry multiple threats including Pogacar’s national teammate Primoz Roglic and last year’s Tour runner-up, Jonas Vingegaard. Ineos Grenadiers are without their leading light Egan Bernal, the 2019 champion who is still recovering from injury, but they do have the in-form Geraint Thomas fresh from winning the Tour de Suisse, as well as potential stage winners Adam Yates and Tom Pidcock.
Here is a stage-by-stage look at this year’s route.
Jack Rathborn1 July 2022 12:12
Geraint Thomas welcomes ‘Grandad’ Bradley Wiggins’ Tour de France underdog tip
Geraint Thomas was happy to hear his prospects for yellow at this year’s Tour de France talked up by “Grandad Brad” Wiggins but insisted he will take things as they come over the next three weeks.
Thomas goes into Friday’s opening stage in Copenhagen on the back of victory in the Tour de Suisse two weeks ago. However, he is one of three leaders of the Ineos Grenadiers – alongside Dani Martinez and Adam Yates – as they look to take on the likes of defending champion Tadej Pogacar and Primoz Roglic.
Wiggins last week told a Eurosport podcast that the 36-year-old Welshman might be an underdog this summer but warned to “dismiss Geraint Thomas at your peril” as he backed him for a podium finish.
“It’s always nice when you hear Grandad Brad says things like that about you,” Thomas said of the man he won Olympic gold alongside in 2008.
“I’m feeling good. Suisse showed I was in decent shape, so we’ll see how it goes here. We’ve got a super-strong team. The main thing is we ride together, we’re aggressive together and we ride off each other, which is what we’ve done all year.”
Jack Rathborn1 July 2022 11:56
Tour de France 2022: Jumbo-Visma contenders enjoy training session
Jack Rathborn1 July 2022 11:40