2022 Tour de France Route

The route of the 2022 Tour de France has been unveiled, here’s a closer look at what promises to be an intense course with cobbles, Alpe d’Huez, the return of old climbs and a new one too.

Stage 1 is a Friday time trial in Copenhagen. At 13km and flat, it’s comparable to the 14km opener in Düsseldorf in 2017 won by Geraint Thomas and should see the GC contenders in action against TT specialists and the hordes of Danish locals, think Asgreen, Vingegaard and Bjerg. Stages 2 and 3 will test the hypothesis that an opening time trial eases the crash risk and are likely sprint finishes prone to the slightest crosswinds, especially Stage 2 crossing the giant Great Belt bridge – Europe’s longest – just before the finish. There’s a notional rest day for the transfer to France on the Monday.

Stage 4 is back in France with a visit around the very north and the “Opal Coast”. Look at the map above and you’ll see the route hugs coast in the finish. It takes some hilly clifftop roads that are exposed the sea breeze; they had a team time trial here in the 1990s and squads were shredded by the final climbs and crosswinds so this no parade concluding with a bunch sprint.

Stage 5 and it’s bonjour pavé. The cobbles are back and with them a series of articles about whether they have their place in a grand tour or not (answer: they have their risks but are a feature now). The first thing to note is they total 19.4km but they’re spread throughout the day. Interestingly if names like Hornaing and Arenberg are familiar, there are some sectors never used by the Tour nor Paris-Roubaix but they come from the local Quatre Jours de Dunkerque race.

Stage 6 starts in Belgium in Binche, known in pro cycling as home to the Intermarché-Wanty team but perhaps more famous worldwide for trappist beers. At 220km is the longest stage of the race to Longwy in the Lorraine and a hard day on lumpy roads. Once in Longwy there’s the same finish used in 2017 when Peter Sagan accidentally unclipped his foot in the sprint, clipped back in and won the stage.

Stage 7 has the first summit finish. It’s back to the Planche des Belles Filles and 2012 déjà vu with a start in Tomblaine too. Only we get the “Super” finish where they take the gravel track above the usual finish and the same final slope that prised apart the differences when it was used in 2019.

Stage 8 goes to into Switzerland, it’s a mountain stage as it crosses the Jura mountains, but without anything too savage. After La Planche the day before, many will have lost time and have a chance to go in the breakaway, a day for the baroudeurs. Once in Switzerland it’s Tour de Romandie land and a descent off the Col de Mollendruz to the city of Lausanne, Switzerland’s answer to San Francisco, at least in terms of topology. Instead of a flat sprint by Lake Geneva there’s sharp uphill finish.

Stage 9 is mountain stage proper. Starting in Aigle – HQ of the UCI but also a region keen to establish itself as a cycling destination – and then a loop into Gruyère country via the steady Col des Mosses and the trickier Col de la Croix, the hardest climb of the day. Then it’s back to the Rhone valley and a climb to France via the Pas de Morgins. The finish in Châtel is on roads regularly used by the Critérium du Dauphiné in recent years, it’s a ski station but without a steep finish.

Stage 10 and there’s no map or profile for this stage. After a start in Morzine it’s away from the mountains towards Lake Geneva – presumably carefully avoiding Evian as the town’s eponymous bottled water brand belongs to a rival of big Tour sponsor Vittel – before a ride back featuring a 20km slog uphill via Megève and a finish on the “altiport”, a long drag up to the small airstrip used in the 2020 Dauphiné.

Stage 11 is an emblematic stage of the 2022 race. It’s Alpine and concludes with a steep climb but it’s only 149km. There’s quick sashay via the Lacets de Montvernier on the way to the Télégraphe-Galibier combo and the descent down the Galibier before the mighty Col du Granon. Only used once before in 1986 and a dead end for vehicles the Granon is a very hard climb. There’s a soft start at 4-5% crucially it’s a military climb, built to defend the valley and supply fortifications and this means a well-engineered road with a steady gradient, it’s 9-11% all the way on a wide road as it winds up to over 2,400m above sea level making it the second highest location ever for an official finish of a Tour de France stage (behind the Galibier in 2011).

Stage 12 is the 14 July national holiday and offers fireworks and dancing, on the pedals, from the start. It’s back up the giant Galibier and down to the Maurienne valley before the colossal Croix de Fer climb and then a long descent featuring two uphill sections and only a quick valley section for a last energy gel before the famous climb of Alpe d’Huez.

Stage 13 goes to Saint Etienne, a post-industrial city that’s a regular for Paris-Nice and the Dauphiné and if the city sits below several mountains this day is for the sprinters who’ve endured a long slog for a week without a chance.

Stage 14 should give two races, one for the breakaway across hilly terrain and the stage win, then another among the GC contenders with the steep climb of the Croix-Neuve, aka the Montée Jalabert.

Stage 15 has a finish in the city of Carcassonne, famous for its medieval cité, and is said to be for the sprinters but riding from Rodez means the race has to get over the hills of the Haut Languedoc and it looks like it crosses the Montagne Noire from Revel so there’s a some climbing.

Stage 16 goes into the Pyrenees via some scenic roads. It’s past Limoux and into the mountains via the Port de Lers and the hard Col de Peguère before the descent into Foix, a similar finish to 2017 when Warren Barguil won a wild stage. It looks like a breakaway day.

Stage 17 is another short mountain stage. After a dash across the plains to see if a breakaway can go clear, the Aspin is tackled via the hard side and it’s hard work with repeat climbs, the twisty descent to Loudenvielle and then the Peyresourde turning before turning off for the summit finish in the Peyragudes ski station on the 16% airport slope.

Stage 18 and another big ring bonanza on the plains before smashing in the mountains. If this is another sawtooth profile it’s probably the hardest of the Pyrennees with the long Aubisque and the “new” Col de Spandelles. The Spandelles is an old road but surprisingly never used by the Tour before and a hard climb that goes up like a staircase at times and narrow too. Then comes the more familiar Hautacam finish above Lourdes.

Stage 19 is on rolling roads to Cahors and could be for the sprinters but offers the chance of a repeat of 2021’s stage to Libourne because it’s the last chance for hundreds of riders to get a stage win, the attackers will try to overpower the sprinters’ teams.

Stage 20 almost feels wrong. This is a languid place, a land of long lunches where a race with a stopwatch feels too hurried. Some of the roads here over the Causses du Quércy plateau can be heavy-going but the Tour often sees them resurfaced in time. The course ends in the scenic, almost Disney-like, cliff-top town of Rocamadour. There’s a steep descent into the valley, a test of nerves on a TT bike and then it’s straight into the final climb. Listed as 1.5km at 7.8% but you haven’t come here for the press release copy-paste: there’s a kilometre at over 10% to ensure a tough ending.

Stage 21 has a start in the La Défense business district of Paris before the traditional Champs Elysées criterium.

The Verdict
Intense. This is another Tour that goes east, cutting out the boring parts of France and is all the better for this. Denmark brings novelty in the location but is arguably the most traditional part of the race with an opening TT chased by two sprint stages. After a flight to France there’s a lot going on with the clifftop course to Calais, the pavé, the Superplanche in the Vosges, then the Jura, followed by the first Alpine stage… all this in the first week: just reaching the first the rest day in Morzine untroubled will be a relief for many. The Alps and the Pyrenees feature heavily this year with the Granon making a long-awaited return and Alpe d’Huez is famously difficult.

There are probably six likely sprint finishes spread throughout the race but once out of Denmark none are back-to-back. The points competition could be spiced up thanks to finishes like Longwy and Lausanne which offer some a chance to score when the heavyset sprinters cannot, there’s an opening for the likes of Mathieu van der Poel here.

The Vuelta-fication of the Tour continues, there’s only one stage more than 200km. Has start-to-finish TV killed off the long days? Certainly there are many short stages, the majority of mountain stages are shorter than 150km and while Stage 12 to Alpe d’Huez is a big day, it’s not giant one. Steep climbs proliferate, even the long climbs like the Granon and Alpe d’Huez are as steep as you’ll get in the French Alps and the Pyrenees skip the long Tourmalet for some sharper climbs. For a change Pau isn’t on the route either. The other recent trend of shrinking time trials though has been halted here, there’s 53km in total and at 40km the penultimate stage is the longest solo TT in the Tour since 2013.

The startlist will be as important as the route, all three grand tours this year enjoyed daily battles for the stages but saw runaway GC winners. Ideally the three winners from 2021’s grand tours in Egan Bernal, Tadej Pogačar and Primoz Roglič clash in July 2022, with a wider cast of challengers too. Pogačar is the rider to beat given he can win time trials and summit finishes alike. He might be tempted to try the Giro as well but his UAE sponsors surely want to bank the Tour again (while management lets new hire João Almeida fight for pink). Roglič finds plenty to suit too with steep finishes and uphill sprints and it’ll be interesting to see if 2021 revelation Jonas Vingegaard returns, the Danish départ is a lure but Jumbo-Visma could send him to the Giro to spare him the pressure. Then we wonder if Egan Bernal can return and who will lead alongside him but he’ll be at a disadvantage with a 40km TT looming unless his Ineos team can find a way to prise the race open before.

For the Tour de France Femmes route, see here.

54 thoughts on “2022 Tour de France Route”

  1. The early TT killed this year’s TDF which had all the tension of wet lettuce. Maybe Pog was too good. But my view is that I hate these ITTs. It just rewards being good at TTs far more than being a good all round rider / climber. At 40km its 20km too long for me.
    If they’re fit and avoid crashes, I’d say there is a 75% chance that Roglic or Pog will win. Bernal has no chance based on form in 2020 and 2021 and it’s going to be interesting to see where Carapaz fits into Ineos’ plans.

    • When we had fewer TTs in recent years people would comment there should be more, their thinking was the climbers would be forced to attack more knowing they’d be mowed down in a TT… but easier said than done outgunning the Sky train: if they could have ridden away at anytime they’d have done it. If they’d added more TTs to the Tour over the past decade the eventual winners would have probably won, just with a larger margin. We saw this last year again so it’s a surprise to see it again for 2022 but we’ll see what happens out on the road.

      • I miss the TTT. I always liked the “horses for courses” aspect: Do you bring some big strong guys who might not be so much help in the mountains or gamble your mountain helpers can limit the team’s losses? As to ITT, the Tour is (was?) supposed to reward someone good in all the disciplines, no? I’m no fan of the “mow ’em down in the chrono, defend in the mountains” philosophy, but perhaps Stage 20’s route will reward bike handling as much as watts/kg?

        • I’m not sure I’d want a TTT in every year, especially if your main favourite was in the strongest team like in the Froome years. But a bit of variety never hurts and one now might have the bonus of giving Pogacar some ground to make up. If it helps keep down the number of mountain domestiques that’s a bonus too.

          • But that all depends on who the team brings in support, no? Pippo Ganna’s not going to be a lot of help halfway up Alpe d’Huez for example while he’ll likely drag Bernal to victory in the TTT. I don’t want to penalize one rider vs another but find it interesting when the DS has to decide things like this if a TTT is included.
            IMHO more variables are always better than fewer….just don’t go too far with 100’s of ITT kilometers so the “mow ’em down…” scheme dominates.

      • The issue in recent years has been that the strongest climbers were also the strongest TTers isn’t it. Froome, Roglic, Pogacar, even Thomas in 2018 were just dominant in every discipline.

        If two riders emerged who had competing skill sets – say a Dumoulin v Bernal type contest – I’d genuinely like to see 100km of TT as that’d engineer a really interesting contest.

        But while Pogacar and Roglic are around, with Bernal / Carapaz as their nearest rival, there’s a limit to what you can do. Maybe if Thomas was at his peak a Tour of Flanders-style stage might have mixed things up.

      • Route of the 2022 Tour de France – I’m sure Inner Ring, can explain the specific reasoning, but I’ve often thought, a more interesting route would be:

        The final week, usual big mountain stages Saturday and Sunday.
        Monday – usual rest day and transfer

        Tuesday – road stage
        Wednesday – Team Time Trial
        Thursday – road stage
        Friday – tough cobble stage
        Saturday – time trial
        Sunday – usual promenade in Paris
        Other contentious options.

        Remove all bonus time – if you don’t earn it on the road, for real, it doesn’t happen.

        Remove the 3km rule – it’s a bike race – with all the hazards expected. In this point, race organisers, to have higher degree of liability, for rider safety.

        The above thoughts / are just simply about mixing up the race and GC.

        If, a team time trial was in the last week, to reduce the big time gaps that usually exist after the initial mountains and time trials and influence the way it is raced.

        Same deal with the cobbles – not a token stage, but something with enough difficulty to cause concern.

    • ‘being good’ at TT means you are good at riding a bicycle faster than your opponents period

      there should always be a place for it in the big grand tours

  2. The stage 6 finish in Longwy Haut is as 2017 (1,6km at 5,8% though easing at the end) though this time it is preceeded by the mur de Pulventeux (800m at 12,3%) 6km earlier. An interesting tactical choice on very narrow roads. Last time Sagan coped with the final climb and won, but could he have coped with 12,3%?

    And Binche is also famous for its carnival – maybe even more so than the beer!

    • and the stage 5 pavé seems a fair test for an all round rider. The gravel tracks towards the end of last weekend’s Paris-Tours felt a much more a real lottery and hardly justified in a (former) classic race – and that was in fine weather.

  3. Is it just me or is the announcement earlier than usual? I thought it was usually a few weeks after Lombardia but perhaps I am wrong. Not sure that the shorter stages are the right thing for the Tour. The “race” is more than the racing, it is also about France, the villages and small towns having their day in the sun. The long “boring” transition stages mean many more places are on the route, not many locals on the road up to the Col du Granon or Planche des Belles Filles.

    • It’s always this time of year, last year was delayed because the season was still underway because of the pandemic delays, eg the Giro and Vuelta were on.

      A good point on the longer stages, they can be boring to watch for those on TV but for lots of people by the road it’s all a big festival and often the biggest thing to happen in the village for years. The Granon won’t be packed but it’s a chance to put it in the limelight so cyclists give it a go and to say the area around Briançon has more than the Galibier and Izoard.

      • Doesn’t the planning for le tour take a couple of years, though? I’d imagine the impact of the crazy long (good) Friday stage we had this summer may be felt in, or after, 2023. Hopefully a couple of ‘accidenté’, 230km stages thrown in, but next year is just too soon because planning was already quite advanced.

        • That’s right, it’s often a year out. You sometimes see people saying “they’ve changed the route because this happened in July” but it’s probably rare to make a correction like this, 90% of next year’s route is in place when the Tour starts.

  4. As you say this is a Vueltaised Tour that goes east. But I’m not so sure this is as good a thing as you say. I fear the Tour is getting a bit repetitive. A bit you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. A different route with a different way of doing things might be good every now and again. The Planche des Belle Filles is a cool sounding name but give it a rest.

    • We all enjoy drama but maybe not endless drama, and surely one of the Tour’s charms is that it brings animation and joy to forgotten French towns and villages on a banal flat 220km stage under a baking July sun. We all know the image: families with a picnic under a roadside tree, the village cafe with far more than the usual three loyal customers… Two years ago it passed briskly through Commercy in Lorraine, a nothing special stage with a sprint finish in Nancy, but it must have made the year for many in sad sleepy Commercy. It did for me.

  5. It’s Alps before Pyrenees for the second year in a row – so what are they going to do in 2023 with the Bilbao start? Surely they’re not going to have a third year of Pyrenees last. Are they likely to just loop round south west France for a few days before hitting the mountains on the first weekend (and then presumably having a massive transfer north) or are they going to do like in 1992 after San Sebastian and just have a token visit to the climbs?

  6. Just watched the GCN video on YouTube and there Kasper Asgreen said in a reaction interview that it is always very windy at The Great Beltway bridge and he sees potential for DQS to create big time gaps.

  7. Long time reader, first time commenter, and so before anything else, MANY thanks to our host for the repeatedly impressive quality of this blog. Really by far my favorite source of information on my (second) favorite activity! Also many thanks to the usual clever and knowledgeable commenters.

    For once I can contribute a tiny bit to the conversation as I know the Granon quite well, my holiday home is at it’s feet. There is indeed a very short 5-6% stretch at the start but it’s very short, and the more fun start is the “chemin des Carines” (a road the cows used to take to commute to and from the pastures above the village, midway up the col), which is insanely steep. Don’t know if the Tour will use it though as it’s quite narrow and the road is very patchy.

    The Granon is actually not a cul-de-sac, there is an old unpaved military road on the north side, less scenic but more sheltered from the sun. Closed to cars (any other traffic bit the military are long gone so nobody cares). The normal south-facing ascent is a real hoven in the afternoon with zero shelters after the first third. Even more than the gradient it can make the ascent truly hellish.

    I remember being on the side of the road in 1986 with my grandfather, and it was packed, so hopefully it will be the same this time ! As usual, truly looking forward to this Tour !

    • That would have been a great day out in 1986, a great Tour and Hinault’s last day in yellow. As you say it’s not a cul-de-sac… if you have an MTB or gravel bike, but I think some of the area beyond is closed regularly as it’s used as a military training zone.

      • One of my oldest and foundest memories of cycling, I was 11 and vividly remember how fast those guys where going up, so fast that in the bend I was looking from, in the bunch some had to keep the hands on the breaks no to touch wheels, on 9% gradients. Not a probelm I have ever had this… ! The impression of speed from the side of the road hasn’t changed that much nowdays actually.

        The area in the back is indeed marked on maps as a military zone, but the Chasseur Alpin stationned in Briançon are long gone, and while they continue doing some winter survival training in the area (the officers use the old military houses with while the trainees sleep in Igloos outside), the risk of getting shot by a paint gun or a plaster grenade is actually zero in the summer nowdays, which is great because it opens up a wide gravel territory. But this is indeed true gravel we are talking about here, bordering on XC MTB, not something you’d fancy on a flimsy road frame with 28 mm tyres.

        I love this area sooo much, my favourite place in the world ! (and the proximity with Italy sure helps )

  8. Thanks for the write up.
    One look at the TT km and it amazing how much it has decreased since the 2000’s and it had already decreased some since before.
    I like the short stages more than long ones so i am happy with that. Indeed the shorter stages are ridden so much harder often than long stages i wonder if they actually create more fatigue. As well as being better for TV.

    One thing i would like the organisers do is have a 10 – 20 km long moderately hilly circuit like the WC or the Australian champs. This would be great for spectators with the peleton coming by 10 or 20 times gradually being whittled down.

  9. Thanks for the preview – there is an error in stage 9 as it finishes in Chatel and not Champery as noted. Both villages have hosted finishes of the Dauphine in recent years.

      • Thanks – we are very excited the tour is finally coming to Chatel after playing second fiddle with the Dauphine. I am very familiar with rides in the area and Pas de Morgins should not be decisive as it normally has a strong afternoon tail wind from 2/3 up. Get ready for spectacular helicopter shots of Les Dents du Midi which dominate the Swiss side of the pass.

  10. Typo in the stage 11 description? If I remember correctly the Galibier finish was in 2011, when Andy Schleck won, not 2007. Aside from that, thanks as always for the detailed breakdowns so quickly after the announcement, and for including the profiles.

  11. Thanks for the quality write up inrng! Personally would have preferred at least one of the mountain stages to have been longer.
    Hoping that Granon & Spandelles will appear on the roads-to-ride section soon😛.
    One correction – the Galibier was last used as a summit finish in 2011 and not 2007. It was the famous Schleck stage.

  12. Thanks for your insights as ever. This wonderful blog is a key part of Le Tour for me and I am curious to know what goes on at your place when the route is announced. Is your kitchen table now covered in old note books and photo albums full of memories? Are you planning recon rides to any places you haven’t ridden or to reacquaint yourself with others? I hope it is an exciting time for you and big thanks for your efforts.

    • Glad to create images of maps strewn around the place. More like a cup of coffee and an hour on the laptop trying to trace where the route goes for some of the stages by looking at the videos on the Tour website and comparing to Google Earth, then typing up whatever came to mind.

      We’ll see for recons, one theme for 2022 is the race returns to a lot of familiar places. I’ve not done the Col de Granon but it probably doesn’t have many secrets, would like to ride it but not sure it’ll be so informative to visit. The Swiss stages could be worth a visit – and should be a joy to ride – and the final TT as well because the profile looks flat but the course looks hillier and could be more technical than it looks.

        • All the talk for Stage 8 to Lausanne is about the short uphill finish but it looks there there’s more to it before as it passes some smaller ski stations, it’s like one of those Giro stages in the Apeninnes that could have more surprises than a regular Alpine stage… or maybe not. Then Stage 9 as well has some hard climbs in the middle, it’ll be good to get a feel of whether it’s a day for a range of riders or if it’s a full-on mountain stage. Will see if the Tour de Romandie and Dauphiné visit these areas before, plus there’s the Swiss tarmac and aesthetic.

          All the roads to the Granon are very familiar already and the Granon itself looks like a steady climb with few surprises, built with an even slope so horses could haul cannons and supplies uphill. Still want to ride it by July though.

          • “Swiss tarmac” is definitely a factor. The roads are noticeably better in Switzerland. You often come across crews fixing roads that already seem in perfect condition!

          • There must be other good countries but Switzerland and Japan stand out for amazing tarmac, you rarely find a pothole unless you start venturing onto some mountain forest road and all laid in a way so it stays stable rather than melts in the sun or cracks apart after one winter.

  13. Route looks fine, let’s see how the racing is done.

    Last sentence stage 8 needs some work. Either break up, remove some words, or put in even more commas. Hurts head to read

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