Double the excitement for July 2022 with the launch of Tour de France Femmes
It’s a special day for the Tour de France. Not only because today the 2022 route was unveiled but also because, from next year, the Grande Boucle doubles itself with a women’s edition. In the traditional setting of the Palais des Congres in Paris, the organizer A.S.O. presented the two exciting and challenging races.
THE 109TH TOUR DE FRANCE
The Tour de France will start July 1st and end July 24th. The Grand Depart is scheduled to take place in Denmark over three days: a 13-kilometer individual time trial in central Copenhagen, followed by two road stages.
After a day of travel, the race will continue in Dunkirk for Stage 4, and on the following day face an epic challenge: the cobblestones of Paris-Roubaix with a finish in Arenberg.
The tough opening week will continue with the first mountains on Stage 7, finishing atop Super Planche des Belles Filles, where Giulio Ciccone took the yellow jersey in 2019.
The last week will see the Pyrenees as protagonists, with finishes atop the Hautacam and Peyragudes. Paris, naturally, will play host to the final stage.
In total, there will be 6 flat stages, 7 mixed stages, 6 mountain stages and 2 time trials.
The Grand Depart will offer local hero Mads Pedersen extra incentive:
“For a Danish guy to have the Tour de France Grand Depart in Denmark is something special and super nice, something I’m really looking forward to. This is maybe once in a lifetime that this happens, so I’m super excited for the start next year with the time trial in Copenhagen. We will pass about 100 meters from my home in the second stage, there are not many people who get the chance to have this experience. I can’t wait to start the Tour in Denmark and see all the people celebrate with a big party. I can’t wait to see all my friends and family on the roads to watch me racing the Tour.
“The stages in Denmark will be super important for the race, especially Stage 2 where we are passing [over] the big bridge – some guys can definitely lose the Tour that day. Those will be some hectic and stressful days for sure; it’s going to be really special to see how chaotic these stages will be. I know the roads well so I know that they are pretty small.
“I haven’t planned to do anything special when passing my home roads since I’m racing and that’s why I’m there. I, of course, hope for some good results; aiming for a yellow jersey in Denmark would be my biggest dream. Now, with Dunkirk on Stage 4 and the cobblestones on Stage 5, it’s going to be a really nice first week of the Tour.
“The cobbles will be a super special stage; to be around with climbers and GC riders and the pure classic guys who want to win it. It will be very different from when we race it in the spring also with the 5 new sectors that will show some surprises as well.
“If you’re doing a good result in the first stages then you will be in the mix for the yellow jersey in the first week. That would be a dream to accomplish.
“It’s maybe not the best Tour for sprinters, but even so, maybe it can make my chances higher for the sprint days we have. We will see, but I am looking forward to it!”
Team director Kim Andersen’s valued technical opinion:
“I think it will be a really, really hard Tour. The first days there will be a lot of stress, a relatively long opening time trial, the possibility of strong crosswinds on the bridge in Denmark, and the transfer to France. From here, there is a big cobbled stage and then soon we are at La Planche des Belles Filles.
“For the last two years I have been 99% sure that there would be cobbles in this edition. As we’re traveling from Denmark to Lille it made sense that we would ride some cobbles. There are around 20km of cobbles, including five sections we have never seen before in the Tour or Paris-Roubaix.
“After La Planche des Belles Filles we go into the Alps and there are a lot of hilltop finishes, but also tough sprints which aren’t really sprints: there aren’t many pure sprint stages in this edition. Many of the mountain stages are short but very intense. We even have Stage 12 starting with the Col du Galibier. Ouch!
“I really think it will be a super interesting Tour to watch on television. In Denmark there will be a spectacle on the bridge, then in France another spectacle on the cobbles and Planche des Belles Filles. After that, the climbs come throughout. It’s going to be a hard Tour, but I really like this route. It’s really fantastic to have the Tour de France come to Denmark, I think it will be a beautiful party with a lot of spectators.”
THE 1ST TOUR DE FRANCE FEMMES
Long-awaited, the Tour de France Femmes will debut on the same day that the men’s edition finishes. On July 24, in Paris, the first stage will be a circuit that will run from the Eiffel Tower to the Champs-Élysées.
The next seven stages will cross from west to east over the regions of northern France. Stage 4 will be a challenge on the white gravel roads (from Troyes to Bar-Sur-Aube) while the finale will be explosive with two summit finishes at Le Markstein and on July 31 at the Super Planche des Belles Filles. There, the first winner of the Maillot Jaune for the first edition of Tour de France Femmes will be crowned.
In summary, the eight-day race will offer 4 flat stages, 2 mixed stages, and 2 mountain stages.
After winning the first edition of Paris-Roubaix, Lizzie Deignan dreams of adding another milestone in her already rich career:
“It’s an important day for cycling, not just women’s cycling. Unveiling the route for the Tour de France Femmes is a key indicator that the sport is still progressing as we are now able to compete in the most well-known bike race in the world.
“I think the organizers have done a really good job preparing the route for this edition and it will showcase the best that women’s cycling has to offer with a stage suited to every type of rider. That is something I was really hoping for. The route has been designed to offer entertaining racing from start to finish, but also to reach a crescendo with the final stage finishing on the Super Planche des Belles Filles, one of the hardest climbs in professional cycling.
“I think each stage is dynamic: different and interesting. There are so many challenges thrown into just eight days of racing! I’m particularly interested in the fourth stage between Troyes and Bar-sur-Aube; the unpaved roads are unusual and something we don’t often encounter. The inclusion of a stage with gravel sectors will mean it’s likely to be a complete rider who wins the Tour de France Femmes. I think you can either win or lose the entire race on a stage like this; it’s not just going to be about who can climb the fastest on the final stage, it will open up the GC early. Personally, I’m a fan of the gravel stage; I love Strade Bianche and have won that before. Also, the fifth stage at 175km long will be interesting as we normally don’t race close to this distance, especially during a stage race.
“I expect the first yellow jersey to go to a sprinter, but then also to change hands many times along the way, which will be exciting for the fans. We’ll see lots of super-motivated riders and everyone will be in top shape because there are opportunities everywhere.”
Audrey Cordon-Ragot gives a French perspective:
“I am really pleased because I think [the organizers] listened when they asked for our opinion and we said we wanted an open race where everyone can express themselves with different winners. All the stages are open for many different riders, and this is what we wanted. Of course, it’s a little bit too east for me – I wish we could come to Bretagne but that will come in the next years, I am sure.
“If I had to pick one stage I like the most it’s the Champagne stage with the gravel sectors. It’s a stage where everything can happen, similar to the men’s stage on the cobbles. It can really open the GC: a GC leader can lose everything on this stage.
“The two last stages will be amazing, and I have never done the Super Planche des Belles Filles where it ends on the gravel; that is super exciting. These last two stages will define the GC for sure.
“It’s a great first edition which I am sure is going to be amazing.”
Team Director Ina Teutenberg’s sentiments:
“It’s super exciting that we finally have a Tour de France; it’s finally happening! It was nice to attend the big presentation in person. It’s a pretty diverse course with stages for sprinters, mid-mountain stages, and everything in between. Of course, it will be special to show the rainbow bands with Elisa Balsamo at the first Tour de France Femmes, although it would have been nice to have included a time trial to add another element to the race and give that opportunity to show the rainbows to Ellen as well. Otherwise, I think it’s a great route and I’m looking forward to being at the start next year.”