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Tour de France Preview: Pogacar Leads the Way Once Again

The Tour de France is getting ready to roll out of the beginning gate once more on Friday, with this 12 months’s race set to function a dominant younger champion, a climb up the well-known Alpe d’Huez and the debut of a multistage ladies’s race after the males’s occasion concludes.

Here is what we find out about this 12 months’s version:

USA Network will present most of the levels in the United States, with NBC leaping in for Stage 2 – the first mass-start street stage on Saturday – and the remaining two levels. Peacock will stream each stage of the race.

Don’t dwell in the United States? Other networks with rights to the race embody ITV in Britain, SBS in Australia, FloBikes in Canada, France TV in France, ARD in Germany. For these from Slovenia, the residence nation of the favourite Tour Tadej Pogacar and his countryman and rival Primoz Roglic, click on over to RTV.

The 2022 Tour is resuming one among its trendy traditions by beginning in a rustic aside from France. This 12 months, for the first time, that nation is Denmark, which can host the first stage: an eight-mile time trial by means of the coronary heart of Copenhagen that, sure, features a move by the Little Mermaid statue. (No, not the arriviste one, the authentic.) The time trial begins at 10 am Eastern on Friday, a day sooner than regular for journey causes. Saturday and Sunday’s flat levels are in Denmark as properly.

Stage 5 on Wednesday will throw riders their first curveball, with stretches of cobblestone roads that they have to negotiate. The final time the Tour tried that, there have been crashes and accidents aplenty.

After a fast go to to Belgium, one other Tour nation that’s not France, the race will start in earnest in the Alps (each French and Swiss), beginning on July 8.

The marquee stage will probably be July 14 – Bastille Day, no coincidence – when the riders traverse the picturesque and punishing 21 switchbacks of Alpe d’Huez for the first time in 4 years. Before they even get to the hilltop end at Alpe d’Huez, although, they’ll have climbed mountains whose names strike concern into the hearts of even the hardiest skilled cyclists: the Col du Galibier (for the second time in two days) and the Col de la Croix de Fer.

The remaining key levels will probably be July 20 and 21 in the Pyrenees, together with a climb of the Col d’Aubisque and a stage-ending ascent to the ski resort of Hautacam. If the race remains to be in steadiness, it is going to be determined by a 25-mile time trial ending in Rocamadour on July 23. The remaining day will probably be the primarily ceremonial procession on the Champs-Élysées in Paris on July 24.

The two-time defending champion, Tadej Pogacar of Slovenia, is the odds-on favourite to make it three in a row. Riding for UAE Team Emirates, Pogacar gained two shorter excursions earlier in the season in addition to a giant one-day race in Italy and reveals no indicators of slipping. And he is nonetheless solely 23.

His predominant rival ought to once more be his countryman Primoz Roglic. He gained an vital warm-up tour, the Critérium du Dauphiné, and at age 32 could also be beginning to run out of probabilities to win the massive one.

Last 12 months’s runner-up, Jonas Vingegaard of Denmark, must be thought of a contender, too, particularly if Roglic, his teammate on the Jumbo-Visma squad, falters. Vingegaard completed second to Roglic on this 12 months’s Dauphiné.

At the similar time he was profitable the final two yellow jerseys, Pogacar was profitable the polka dot jersey as finest climber as properly. This prize is extra generally gained by a climbing specialist, nevertheless, and two Frenchmen, Thibaut Pinot and Romain Bardet, the 2019 winner, are candidates this time round.

Last 12 months’s winner of the inexperienced jersey – which works to the race’s finest sprinter – was the veteran Mark Cavendish of Britain. But with Cavendish left off his Quick Step crew this 12 months, Wout van Aert of Belgium turns into the clear favourite in that specific facet competitors.

Pogacar is amazingly nonetheless not solely younger sufficient to win the white jersey for finest younger rider, however younger sufficient that he will probably be eligible the subsequent two years as properly. Barring an harm, he looks as if a lock to win it, even when he would not carry the trophy in Paris in a month.

The Tour is launching the Tour de France Femmes, a ladies’s race that may start on the Champs-Élysées the day the males’s Tour ends there and proceed for eight days.

The remaining stage, although, is the actual eye-opener: a punishing climb to the Planche des Belles Filles ski station in the Vosges Mountains.

At 39, Annemiek van Vleuten of the Netherlands is favored to cap an excellent profession with a win in the new occasion.

There had been a Tour for girls, beneath the title Tour de France Féminin, for just a few years in the Eighties earlier than it was scrapped. In current years, the Tour has hosted one- or two-day races for girls, however that is the first full-stage race in many years.

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