The 109th edition of the Tour de France starts on 1 July in Copenhagen, the furthest north the race has ever been in its history. The Grand Départ begins with a time trial on the Friday, the race beginning a day earlier than usual to allow for a rest day on the Monday for the long transfer from Denmark to northern France. Here’s our stage-by-stage guide to the race.
Beginning with an individual time trial in the Danish capital, where Filippo Ganna of Ineos Grenadiers will be a strong favourite to be the first rider to take the yellow jersey this year, the opening week promises crosswinds, pavé and a summit finish on La Planche des Belles Filles that should provide a pointer to who will be battling for the overall title over the ensuing fortnight.
Tadej Pogačar of UAE Team Emirates, seeking a third consecutive overall victory is the bookies’ clear favourite ahead of Jumbo-Visma’s Primož Roglič, who lost yellow to his compatriot on the penultimate day of the 2020 Tour and abandoned following a crash last year.
Roglič comes to the Tour fresh from his overall win at the Critérium du Dauphiné, where his team-mate Jonas Vingegaard was also in sparkling form giving Jumbo-Visma another option on GC.
With Egan Bernal out as he continues his recovery from injury, Geraint Thomas, Dani Martinez and Adam Yates, all with one-week stage race wins in the bag this season, will spearhead the Ineos Grenadiers challenge, with Tom Pidcock who makes his debut at the Tour providing an option on some of the punchier stages.
Last year’s points competition winner, Mark Cavendish, misses the race with Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl instead opting for Fabio Jakobsen; but he and Lotto-Soudal’s Caleb Ewan will find sprint options this year are limited, with punchier riders such as Jumbo-Visma’s Wout van Aert, Mathieu van der Poel of Alpecin-Fenix and Peter Sagan, back in winning ways with Team Total Energies, among those who will look to challenge for the green jersey.
As ever, we’re in for three weeks in which the most innocuous-looking stage can result in high drama, and being in the wrong place when a crash happens can put paid to months of preparation, as well as some thrilling racing in which new stars of the peloton will shine. So, without further fanfare, here is the overview map and route video of the 21 stages that make up the 2022 Tour de France, followed by our detailed look at each stage.
Friday 1 July
Copenhagen – Copenhagen (13.2km ITT)
The Tour last began with an individual time trial five years ago, and the 109th edition starts with a short, flat test over what should be a fast course that suits the specialists. It’s one in which overall contenders will aim to avoid crashes such as the one that put Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde out of the race in 2017, while those who are less strong in the discipline will be looking to limit losses.
That day in Dusseldorf, Geraint Thomas took the yellow jersey. Underlining how crucial even a short stage against the clock such as this can be for GC, his then Team Sky colleague and defending champion Chris Froome, sixth that day, took 51 seconds from Rigoberto Uran over 14km – wider than his overall margin of victory over the Cannondale-Drapac rider three weeks later in Paris.
Saturday 2 July
Roskilde – Nyborg (202.5km)
This stage will look spectacular on TV as the race heads mostly along the coast, before a finale featuring the Great Belt Fixed Link connecting Zeeland with Funen via the small island of Sprogø and two bridges spanning 18km in total. A flat profile suggests a bunch sprint, but if the wind is blowing across the Great Belt strait and echelons form it could be pure panic in the peloton.
Even if the weather stays calm, the opening road stage of the Tour is typically ridden at a fast pace, making for a nervous day in the bunch, with the sprinters’ teams looking to reel in the break and those with GC ambitions looking to get their protected riders safely within the 3km to go banner – and those nerves, plus the speed the riders are travelling at, often result in crashes.
Sunday 3 July
Vejle – Sønderborg (182km)
The route of today’s stage is more sheltered than yesterday’s as the race heads south through the Jutland peninsula for a finish in Sønderborg, close to the border with Germany, and as a result there is less prospect of the wind playing a role on the outcome.
While yesterday’s stage was designed to bring into play the uncertainty that the weather can cause, this one has been specifically designed for the sprinters. Expect a small group to get away early on – possibly including whichever rider ended the opening road stage in the polka dot jersey, with three more opportunities to pick up points today – ahead of a bunch sprint.
Tuesday 5 July
Dunkerque – Calais (171.5km)
After a day’s pause to allow for the 900km transfer from Denmark to France, racing resumes with a stage starting and finishing in Channel ports and which includes Cap Gris-Nez – the closest point on Continental Europe to the UK – and we’d expect plenty of fans to make the crossing to cheer the riders on.
Five categorised climbs – the last of those crested 10.8km from the finish on top of the white cliffs of Cap Blanc Nez – plus the potential influence of the wind make this a difficult stage to call and while a bunch sprint cannot be discounted, the route has been drawn up very much with the puncheurs in mind.
Wednesday 6 July
Lille Métropole – Arenberg Porte du Hainaut (154km)
Just 3km into today’s stage, the race will pass through Roubaix and 11 cobbled sections – the first tackled shortly after the halfway point, and four of them featuring in the Hell of the North – lie in wait, with the longer, tougher ones coming towards the finish. The Arenberg, perhaps the most iconic sector in Paris-Roubaix, won’t be among them, but the line will be 500m from its entrance.
In 2014, Chris Froome, who’d crashed the day before, abandoned before the race even hit the cobbles and Vincenzo Nibali – already in yellow – built what proved to be a race-winning lead in the rain. Ex-cyclocross world champion Lars Boom took the win that day, and in 2018 John Degenkolb won over the pavé. A day for a Classics specialist, but one that could also see some gaps open on the General Classification.
Thursday 7 July
Binche – Longwy (220km)
The longest stage by some distance of this year’s edition, more than half of it is in Belgium as the race heads into the Ardennes, another nod to the Spring Classics but one that contrasts sharply with yesterday’s cobbles. Peter Sagan won the last time a stage finished in Longwy, though his joy was short lived – the next day, he was kicked off the race for nudging Mark Cavendish into the barriers.
While the finish line is unaltered, on top of a 1.6km climb with an average gradient of 5.8 per cent, the preceding ascent is new this time round and is certain to do some damage, averaging 12.3 per cent over 800 metres and crested with just 5.3km to go. That may be too short and too far out for any major GC action, but an explosive finish is guaranteed, with a potential winner from the break.
Friday 8 July
Tomblaine – La Super Planche des Belles Filles (176.5km)
It’s only 10 years since La Planche des Belles Filles made its debut in the Tour de France. Chris Froome won the stage on a day that Bradley Wiggins took the yellow jersey he would keep all the way to Paris, with Team Sky’s riders forcing a blistering pace at the front of the group to negate any potential attacks from rivals, and since then the climb in the Vosges has been a regular inclusion.
The prefix ‘Super’ though? That was first used in 2019 when the finish, as it is today, was higher up to include a gravel section and a ramp hitting 24 per cent, the stage won by Dylan Teuns. It could be a big day for the overall – but it would be hard to match 2020’s drama when in the penultimate day’s individual time trial Tadej Pogačar snatched victory from his friend and compatriot Primož Roglič.
Dole – Lausanne (186.5km)
Barely a third of the way through the race, this stage sees the race take in the fourth country on this year’s parcours as it crosses into Switzerland with a finish in Lausanne, the city that is home to both the International Olympic Committee and the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and whose local football team FC Lausanne-Sport was bought in 2017 by Ineos owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe.
The finish line is at the top of a Category 3 climb outside the city’s Olympic Stadium, giving an opportunity for overall contenders to pick up potentially valuable seconds over their rivals, although we would expect the stage winner to come from the break. It’s preceded by three other categorised climbs as the race winds its way through the Jura mountains before crossing the border.
Sunday 10 July
Aigle – Châtel les Portes du Soleil (193km)
All but the final 10km of today’s stage takes place in Switzerland, with a start in Aigle, home to the UCI and the World Cycling Centre, with the race passing through the town for a second time as the riders head into the final 40km following a 150km loop to the east of Lake Geneva, with the day including four categorised climbs.
The second of those is the Category 2 Col des Mosses, followed shortly after by the Category 1 Col de la Croix, crested with 61km to go ahead of the race descending to Aigle. The final climb, the Category 1 Pas des Morgins, is on the Franco-Swiss border, but the subsequent descent gives a chance for any GC riders distanced on the ascent to get back on. Another day for the break?
Monday 11 July
Morzine Les Portes du Soleil
Morzine Les Portes du Soleil – Megève
Following yesterday’s rest day, and with two big mountain stages looming in the Alps, it should be a relatively gentle return to racing for the peloton as the race reaches its halfway point, and one that promises spectacular views early on as the riders head along the so-called ‘balcony roads’ above the French shore of Lake Geneva.
There are four categorised ascents today, but none has an average gradient above 4.1 per cent – although to be fair, that is on the final climb to the finish and is a 19.2km uphill slog to the summit. It doesn’t look like a GC day – although sometimes stages that look innocuous on paper can explode on the road – but again we’d expect a rider from the break, or a late solo attack, to clinch the win.
Albertville – Col du Granon Serre Chevalier
This is only the second-ever stage finish on the Col du Granon but it will be hard-pushed to match the first, won by Eduardo Chozas on what was then the highest-ever summit finish and which saw one of the most dramatic days in Tour history, as Greg LeMond took the overall lead from five-time winner and La Vie Claire team-mate Bernard Hinault, who would never wear the yellow jersey again.
The breathtaking hairpins of the Lacets de Montvernier climb provide the appetiser to what should be a battle royale for the overall as the riders head up the Col du Télégraphe followed by the Col du Galibier – at 2,642m the highest point on this year’s race. By now, some riders hoping for a high finish on GC will be struggling or even dropped, ahead of the final Hors-Catégorie climb to the finish.
Thursday 14 July
Briançon – Alpe d’Huez (165.5km)
It’s the 70th anniversary of one of cycling’s most fabled climbs making its Tour debut, with Fausto Coppi winning the first-ever mountain-top finish in the history of the race. He’d win the 1952 edition by almost half an hour from his closest rival, and in 2018, when the ascent last featured, it was also the eventual champion who won here – Geraint Thomas in the yellow jersey he’d taken 24 hours earlier.
The route today is identical to that used in 1986 when Bernard Hinault won the stage, though more often than not a stage finishing here is won by a rider not challenging – or at least, out of contention – for GC. Two other HC ascents, the Galibier and Croix de Fer, precede those famous 21 hairpins and on Bastille Day, expect French riders to battle hard to get in the break.
Friday 15 July
Le Bourg d’Oisans – Saint-Étienne (193km)
A transitional stage that will be welcomed by most of the peloton following yesterday’s exertions, although the sprinters’ teams will have to ensure they don’t give the break too much leeway and that it is brought back ahead of an expected bunch finish.
It’s the 27th time that Saint-Etienne, the city that was once the centre of France’s bicycle industry, will have hosted a stage of the race. Last time it hosted a finish three years ago Thomas De Gendt won the stage, but organisers have opted for a less taxing profile today with the last of three categorised climbs crested with 44km still to ride.
Saturday 16 July
Saint–Étienne – Mende (192.5km)
It will be the sixth time Mende has hosted a stage finish, with the first taking place in 1995 when Laurent Jalabert took a memorable win on Bastille Day. With the exception of 2010, when Joaquim Rodriguez won, the stage has always gone to a rider from the break – including Steve Cummings who took MTN-Qhubeka’s first-ever victory in the race on Mandela Day 2015.
There’s 3,400m of climbing today, with a pair of Category 3 climbs early on and another pair towards the end, ahead of the tough climb of the Cote de la Croix Neuve above Mende – nowadays also known as the Montée Jalabert – which averages 10.1 per cent over its 3km before flattening out for the final 1.5km to the finish.
Sunday 17 July
Rodez – Carcassonne (202.5km)
As with Friday’s stage, this is another where organisers have deliberately avoided some of the more taxing parts of the local terrain – in this case, the climbs in around the Montagne Noire – in favour of what should on paper be an easier profile and one that again suits the sprinters and which starts with the peloton heading through the spectacular Tarn Gorges.
Carcassonne and its stunning medieval citadel, remodelled in the 19th century, are a familiar sight on the Tour and it was here that Mark Cavendish made history last year by winning his 34th career stage to draw level with Eddy Merckx. It should be a bunch finish again – although if it is windy late on, there is always the possibility of echelons forming and the script being rewritten.
Monday 18 July
Carcassonne – Foix
The race heads into the Pyrenees with a stage that should see a big fight to get into what should be a typically large final-week break. It will most likely include some riders who may have harboured overall ambitions when the race began in Denmark, but who are now out of contention on the general classification and will be targeting stage wins to try and salvage something from the Tour.
Two Category 1 climbs feature on the second half of the stage – the Port de Lers, covering 11.4km at 7 per cent, and the Mur de Péguère, which averages 7.9 per cent over its 9.3km. The summit comes with 27.2km remaining to the finish and given the two days that lie ahead, the overall contenders may well keep their powder dry, meaning today’s winner is likely to come from the break.
Saint-Gaudens – Peyragudes
The first of two consecutive summit finishes features five climbs, three of them Category 1 – the Col d’Aspin, the Col de Val Louron-Azet, and finally the ascent to the aerodrome at Peyragudes and its brutal upper slopes. The climb is making only its third appearance in the race, both previous visits proving to be memorable.
The first finish here was in 2021, when Alejandro Valverde won the stage from Chris Froome and overall leader Bradley Wiggins. Five years later, Romain Bardet took the stage, while Fabio Aru grabbed the yellow jersey from Froome – although the Team Sky rider would take it back two days later and keep it all the way to Paris.
Lourdes – Hautacam
The final mountain stage of this year’s Tour, and it’s an absolute beast, with two Hors-Catégorie climbs – the Col d’Aubisque and the finish – plus a new climb, the Col de Spandelles. The latter gives a new approach to the final ascent to Hautacam, making just its sixth appearance in the race since its debut in 1994.
On four of those occasions, it was the eventual overall winner – Miguel Indurain, Bjarne Riis, Lance Armstrong and Vincenzo Nibali – who triumphed on the Hautacam, the exception being Cadel Evans, who won here in 2008, three years before winning the yellow jersey. It will be the final mountain of this year’s race – but with the individual time trial still to come, will it be decisive?
Castelnau-Magnoac – Cahors
Now the mountains are over, we have three stages that form a typical closing triptych to the race when it exits the Pyrenees – one that should suit the sprinters, then an individual time trial and the final day’s procession into Paris where the winner of the 109th edition of the Tour de France will be crowned. How today goes will depend on how the standings in the various competitions are.
If the points contest is close – or if time gaps are close in the overall standings – the intermediate sprint, which comes early on, could be a hard-fought contest. Otherwise, it should be one for the sprinters – although as we saw at the Giro d’Italia in May and at the Dauphiné, it can be touch and go whether the break will be caught. There’s also a bit of an uphill kick right at the end.
Saturday 23 July
Lacapelle-Marival – Rocamadour (40.7km ITT)
An individual time trial on the penultimate day of the Tour isn’t new – but it can be a recipe for drama, maybe never more than two years ago when Tadej Pogačar overhauled Primož Roglič. And going back 11 years, you have the only time in Tour history when three riders held the lead on the final three days. Thomas Voeckler in yellow on Friday, Andy Schleck on Saturday, and Cadel Evans in Paris.
Today’s test largely takes place on rolling roads, but the final 1.5km in the stunning setting of Rocamadur has an average gradient of 7.8 per cent, and this being bike racing anything can happen – remember that speed wobble from Geraint Thomas in 2018, after which the much-missed sports director Nicolas Portal told him to calm down?
Sunday 24 July
Paris La Défense Arena – Paris Champs-Élysées (116km)
The riders’ first glimpse of the Arc-de Triomphe will come earlier than usual on today’s final stage as they head out past the Grand Arche de la Défense during the neutralised start, before swinging west out of the capital towards Yvelines, returning via Versailles and Issy-les-Moulineaux, home to organisers ASO, then back into the city centre and eight laps of the iconic Champs-Elysées circuit.
After the photocalls of the jersey winners and relaxed ambience typical of the final stage, it’s after the winner-in-waiting’s team leads the bunch onto Rue de Rivoli and through Place de la Concorde that racing begins in earnest. Will this be the year the break or a lone late attack finally prevails? Almost certainly not, as the world’s top sprinters vie for victory on cycling’s most famous finish line.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.