Alpe d’Huez and cobblestones are back for the 2022 Tour de France

PARIS – Next year, the Tour de France will see the return of the cobblestones of Paris-Roubaix and take the peloton to the top of the famous mountain of Alpe d’Huez.

Designed for complete riders such as two-time champion Tadej Pogacar, the course features two individual time trials and six mountain stages with five summit finishes.

Race organizers unveiled the route in Paris in the presence of Pogacar and double world champion Julian Alaphilippe, marking the return of the traditional ceremony that was abandoned last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The women’s race will run from July 24 to 31 and will consist of eight stages. It will start from the Eiffel Tower in Paris and head towards the east of France, with a prestigious finish at the Planche des Belles Filles, a classic stage of the men’s tour in the Vosges.

Back on the calendar next year, the Tour de France Women aims to become a staple of the women’s world tour after several unsuccessful attempts. A women’s circuit stage race was held from 1984 to 1989, alongside the men’s race before being subsequently shortened.

The three-week men’s race will start in Copenhagen after a year of delay due to the postponement of European Football Championship matches in the Danish capital until last year.

The opening stage, a 13-kilometer time trial, will take place on July 1 and will be followed by two more stages on roads exposed to the winds of the Nordic country before a transfer to northern France.

An enticing stage 5 will tackle the cobbled traitors of Paris-Roubaix, who return to the program after four years of absence. The race will then head to the Vosges for a finish at the top of the Planche des Belles Filles, where the first battle between the contenders for the general classification should take place.

The Planche has become in recent years a classic of the Tour de France with its brutal arrival. It was there that Pogacar sealed the first of his victories in 2020 when he snatched the yellow jersey in a dramatic time trial on the eve of the race finish.

“There are some opportunities for hard-hitting runners,” said Alaphilippe. “What I can tell you already is that the rungs and cobblestones will make for an enjoyable and spectacular first week.”

The peloton will visit the Swiss city of Lausanne before tackling the Alps. There, two finishes at the top – the Col du Granon at an altitude of 2,413 meters, then Alpe d’Huez and its 21 hairpin bends – will prove to be a major challenge for the peloton. The last time the Tour riders climbed Alpe d’Huez was in 2018.

“We felt such a demand to come back there,” Tour director Christian Prudhomme told L’Equipe newspaper. “From the station itself, which has systematically written to us in recent years to bid. And the public, very attached to these emblematic climbs. “

The crossing of the Pyrenees will offer no respite with formidable stages as far as Peyragudes and Hautacam. The final classification will be decided on the eve of the last stage towards the Champs Elysées, during a 40-kilometer time trial to the picturesque hilltop village of Rocamadour.

There will be some opportunities for sprinters to shine, with six flat stages scattered across the 3,328 kilometer course, including one to the medieval city of Carcassonne, where Mark Cavendish tied Eddy Merckx’s all-time record of 34 victories. stage on the Tour this year.

Alpe d’Huez and cobblestones return for Tour de France 2022 originally appeared on NBCSports.com

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