After winning in 2020 and 2021, Tadej Pogačar is aiming to make it 3 Tour de France victories in a row this year. The 23-year-old Slovenian will join the ranks of Philippe Thys, Louison Bobet and Greg Lemond as a 3-time winner.
Pogačar has been relentless this season. He’s already won the UAE Tour, Tirreno Adriatico, Tour of Slovenia and Strade Bianche. He’s shown himself to be a strong one-day racer as well as a stage-race king. His greatest competition in this year’s Tour de France looks like it will come from the Jumbo-Visma team again. Primož Roglič, runner-up in 2020 and Jonas Vingegaard, runner-up in 2021 will try and go one better in 2022. For the Dane, this year’s Grand Depart in Copenhagen will get things off to a nice start.
It’s easier said than done but they will hope to isolate Pogačar and put time into the Slovenian rider. Challenges lay ahead in the form of the wind in Denmark and the cobbles once the race reaches France again. Jumbo-Visma will be able to call on Wout van Aert for support on the cobbled sections. There’s always a chance that Pogačar smashes these challenges and gains time on his rivals before the mountains begin.
“It will definitely be an exciting battle between him and the Jumbo Visma team,”Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme
This year’s Tour de France returns to La Planches des Belles Filles, where Pogačar took the win on the penultimate day of the 2020 Tour. The Alpe d’Huez returns for the first time since 2018 as well with its 21 hairpins to climb. Unlike many strong climbers, Pogačar has shown time trials aren’t going to be an issue. The initial 13.2km in Copenhagen and the final 40.7km in Rocamadour will still be crucial in the GC battle.
The Ineos Grenadiers, who dominated the pre-Slovenia era with 7 Tour wins in 8 years have decent riders in Yates, Martinez and Thomas but it feels like all 3 are below the top-tier of GC riders. French hopes for a first win since 1985 don’t look good, Thibaut Pinot has said he won’t ride for GC and the likes of Guillaume Martin already have the Giro in their legs. Romain Bardet will likely attack the KoM jersey as well, with Julian Alaphillipe not selected by Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl after his awful crash back in April.