A Danish start to 2022 TdF: TT, crosswinds chaos and beautiful scenery

June 14, 2022

Tadej Pogacar

Tour de France 2021 – Etape 17 – Muret / Saint-Lary-Soulan Col du Portet - Tadej Pogacar - Vainqueur de l'etape © A.S.O./Pauline Ballet

The biggest event on the World Tour calendar will be kicking off in one of the capitals of cycling- Copenhagen. The Grand Départ will mark the Tour de France’s first visit to Denmark, which in turn will offer an exciting roll out to 3 weeks of epic racing. Furthermore, this year we will see the first edition of Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift- women’s Tour de France, you can read about it on BigBonkTour as well.

As someone who has lived in Denmark for 4 years, I cannot stress enough how important cycling is in any form or shape to this country. From commutes to more competitive forms of it, all cycling is welcome and encouraged. With 11 Danish riders on the start list, it puts Denmark at #4 for riders per nation graph and we should expect huge crowds and support for every single of them on the home soil.

Last year I visited Tour de Pologne and wrote an article about it in which I gave some tips on how to get the most out of spectating a professional cycling event, if you are planning a similar trip- give it a read. This year I snagged cheap plane tickets and will be visiting Copenhagen for the 109th edition of Tour de France. If you are interested in first hand experience and photos, follow me on Instagram.

In this short piece, we will quickly go through the first three stages of the Grand Tour, which will take part in Scandinavia and see why your bets should be placed on the strongest classics squads for the first 3 stages. I’d like to mention, that after that horrific crash at this year’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Julian Alaphilippe will not be on the start line. If you would like to get an in-depth look at the current World Champion’s season, you can do it on BigBonkTour as well.

Stage 1: Copenhagen, Individual Time Trial, 13km

A flat route through the streets of the Danish capital this should be a free flowing time trial at full speed, although the map suggests some twists and turns that will probably separate winners from losers. Riders will pass many tourist attractions, such as Little Mermaid and Tivoli Gardens, so this should be a very scenic TT and a great leg warmer for the upcoming days.

I would expect strong TT specialists to go into yellow jersey, with GC favorites doing their best to minimize losses. Filippo Ganna is candidate #1 of course with Jumbo-Visma treading on his heels, with the likes of Wout van Aert and Primož Roglič. We also have Stefan Küng for Groupama-FDJ and Stefan Bissegger for EF Education-EasyPost, who both have shown good results this year.

Stage 1 profile of 2022 Tour de France

Stage 1 profile of 2022 Tour de France

Stage 2: Roskilde to Nyborg, 199km

Looking at the stage profile it might look boring, but the biggest factor on this day will be crosswinds and big gusts near the coastline. There are three Category 4 climbs, so we can expect a big battle to get into an inaugural breakaway of the 109th Tour de France. It might be slow paced for the majority of the day, as the riders will probably be saving themselves for the Great Belt Fixed Link, but expect teams such as Ineos Grenadiers or Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl to try and split the peloton somewhere in the middle as they usually do. Towards the end of a stage, riders will reach previously mentioned Great Belt Fixed Link, an 18km bridge over Baltic sea, which will be a treat for spectators, not so much for GC contenders, so make sure you are on the other side of the TV.

In my opinion, the TT winner should retain the yellow jersey on this day. As I mentioned in the beginning of this piece, the first three days will favor strong classics squads, so crosswind chaos and getting back into a main bunch should be the bread and butter of TT specialists, who nowadays usually take part in most grueling spring classics.

Stage 2 profile of 2022 Tour de France

Stage 2 profile of 2022 Tour de France

Stage 3: Vejle to Sønderborg, 182km

A day which has more bumps in it’s profile and a chance for a breakaway. With 3 categorized climbs, I would expect breakaway to survive at least the first 130 kilometers. After that only the most daring ones would attack to keep the hope alive. Behind, in the peloton, the chase should begin after ~140 kilometers, if it succeeds, we should witness a first proper sprint finish of this year’s Tour de France. And this year’s edition has a lot of sprint superstars on offer- Jasper Philipsen, Fabio Jakobsen, Dylan Groenewegen, Caleb Ewan – you name it. Personally, I would love Alexander Kristoff of Intermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux to take an early win. Second and third stages in Scandinavia suit him well and he has shown time and time again that he still has some firepower to compete with the youngsters.

Stage 3 profile of 2022 Tour de France

Stage 3 profile of 2022 Tour de France

That’s it! Finishing in Sønderborg wraps up the first three days of the 2022 Tour de France and will bring a first early rest day, as teams will be transferring to France for stage 4. Stage 5 which will be held on July 6th, is the one that you don’t want to miss. The Hell of a North is back in the Tour de France with 11 sectors of cobbles on the menu. If you would like to learn more on why Paris-Roubaix is called the Hell of a North, I have written an extensive article previewing grueling conditions of this year’s edition that was won by Dylan van Baarle back in April.

My bet is that we will see a similar situation to the 2021 Giro d’Italia, where Filippo Ganna took stage 1 after individual time trial and held on to a leader’s jersey until first hilly challenges.

If you would like to get a glimpse inside this year’s Tour, find me on Instagram. I will be traveling to Denmark for the first three stages and snapping everything that is at least remotely related to a sport that we all love. ❤️


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