Tour de France Guide

With one week to go, a reminder that the 2022 Tour de France guide is online, complete with stage profiles and comment on each day’s course, plus reference material on all the points and mountains competition, time cuts and more, handy if you want more detail ahead of the race or during it.

Just go to for the next four weeks. You’ll also find the link at the top of the page if you’re on a desktop, or on the drop-down menu for phone readers.

41 thoughts on “Tour de France Guide”

  1. Right on time! This blog has been an essential part of me starting to appreciate watching road racing. Now it’s time to start getting in the mood for the tour. Thank you for the great work and witt!

  2. Am I right in thinking the Mende stage is the one won by Cummings in 2017 (I think)?

    Just remember that climb being brutal and becoming a smaller GC day with 20secs or so between main contenders?

    • 2015? Purer climbers like Bardet/Pinot seemed to struggle, or waste time bluffing, while Cummings kept coming like the thing from It Follows, then finally it looked a bit like a man vs 2 boys on the flat finish.
      Everything seemed slow motion on the climb, Froome let Quintana go then reeled him back in but looked to have to go deep… probably in hindsight early indications of his later struggles on d’Huez maybe.

      • Yes it was 2015, good point

        Could be right re early indication, I hope he writes a tell all book to understand what was going on that year – although it seems like he genuinely just ill or a cold?

        Was that the first time we saw his pacing strategy? As I remember being very impressed then as he came back and dropped everyone side from Quintana and then sprinted for bonus seconds.

        His pacing might not be an indication though as he did it regularly at the Vuelta and sometimes rode himself into form having allowed himself to get dropped on early climbs. I think 2016 Lagos de Covadonga was the one, admittedly that was the stage that lost him the Vuelta though, even if he came good on later stages.

        • “Pacing strategy” aka metabolic magic? (put this into the “Sky haters gonna hate” category if you please ^___^).

          On a more serious note, it wasn’t the first time Froome was caught struggling on the hard end of a TDF, just think the illegal feeding in 2013 and then Semnoz. It was one of his manifest weak points which he would work (very) successfully on through the years, like descending or more generally bike handling, or the lack of decisive impulse in the “mano a mano”.
          Although I consider Froome a fake, in short, and as an extremely personal opinion, of course, there’s little doubt that he had and has huge virtues like the ability to constantly go beyond and improve the set of skills he finds himself endowed with in a given moment. Evolving, so to say, and not just athletically (which could depend on many external elements).

      • Loved the It Follows reference.

        RE: “Finally it looked like a bit… etc.”, not just “looked like”, Bardet and Pinot were 24-25 yo although both already experienced in GTs (but that isn’t it all in cycling), Cummings was 34… I’d surely call the latter “a man” whereas in European 21st-century societies, well, in the middle of your twenties you could still be looked at as “a boy”, often still a student!

  3. This comment will probably get lost in the subsequent TDF hype posts so maybe that will save me having egg on my face – but I’ve just realised how good this Tour could be?

    Having been a bit down knowing Pog will likely win, I’ve suddenly changed my tune having realised despite a strong favourite this is also form-wise the best potential top10 I can remember? Roglic&Vinny are clearly going well and may test Pog, Vlasov has been excellent all year and may surprise, especially with a tactically astute team, Geraint is a previous winner and Bardet a previous podium’er so even if they aren’t going to win this year they still add quality, Martinez has also had strong form despite a single stage mishap in Swiss and we know can last three wks, then there’s O’Connor who rode so impressively at the Dauphine. I expect Yates & Pinot to end up going for stages, but both would also make up a high quality top10 otherwise. Given the make up of the route there’s a few riders in there who might make things interesting as well…

    The route…

    I’m stunned that stages 10,11,12 are all under 150km?
    All with challenging climbs.
    Seems like a route designed to help teams ambush Pogacar?
    The number of steep ramps to the finish also favour Roglic?

    Mad that stage 17&18 are short too?

    Given that there’s two likely windy stages in the first week, and the cobbles and subtly difficult finishes like Mende this could be a fascinating Tour?

    If Pog loses time in the first week it could be very exciting.

    Best route I can remember on paper.

      • Agree totally – the TdF’s short mountian stages are getting to be a joke (the worst being the 65 km stage with F1 racing start – which genius came up with that?). Something near 200 km in the Alps and Pyrennees would be more fitting. I suppose it’s to do with TV-time and keeping the “excitement” until the final TT.

        • What are you talking about?!? Multiple mountain stages between 150-175km…

          Yeah these 5 hour tests will be super boring because they’re so “short”… what was ASO thinking….

          • According to the Road book, there are 5 stages classified as “very difficult” or we could say mountain stages. 1 is stage 9 at 192 km and all the others are 165 km or less. How they are raced is a different question, but a bit more emphasis on endurance would in my opinion be desirable.

          • All the TDF mountain stages do pale in comparison to the Queen Stage of the Giro… the Giro Baby, I mean (the “true thing” always has harder routes than the Tour’s, of course, that would come as no surprise).
            The Peyragudes stage is barely harder than Fauniera’s, same for Pinzolo when compared to Super Planche.
            It’s really food for thought.

          • Obviously went OTT by saying best I’ve seen!
            (Lol emoji)

            But I’m definitely a different fan to a traditionalist.
            My only concerns are a competitive/enjoyable show and bringing new fans to the sport. I think people moaning about organisers looking to make things more entertaining is hilarious. More cobbles, more gravel, more short stages, more lumpy circuits – I look forward to the TDF evolving a getting even better.

            TBH I enjoy most cycling but days like the circuit stage when Bora went for it at the Giro and short stages like the raid Nibali led in the Dauphine a few years back are what really makes things special for me.

            I have no interest in cyclists proving their endurance and often find long mountain stages have proved damp squibs in recent years as they’re easy to control and everyone waits to a point they struggle to do any real damage to GC. Froome’s Giro 80km attack is the only one that springs to mind as a recent classic?

            I think this years short stage differentiate from 2014, especially because despite a worthy winner that was a terminally dull Tour.

          • I still think there needs to be one big long endurance day. Put it before a big explosive mountain day. Everyone took the wrong lesson from 2011 when Contador exploded the short stage to Alpe d’Huez and also Formigal. Both of those stages had massive mountain marathons the day before that meant both desperation and fatigue were factors on the amazing short stage that followed.

          • The 2019 Giro stage to Nivolet (~200 km / 5,200 d+) was also quite serious and a great stage with attacks from pretty much any sort of range.

            The Covadonga stage in Vuelta 2021 was rather normal yet very special for Vuelta’s standards (185 km / 4,500 d+ / 4 KOMs) but it delivered impressive long range attacks from top contenders 60 kms shy from the line.
            That same year the beautiful penultimate stage in Galicia (>200 km / 4,200 d+) was constant GC drama on nearly 70 kms from the finish.
            Speaking of penultimate Vuelta stage, in 2019 Pogacar put on a show in the 190 km / 4,600 d+ / 6 KOMs stage to Gredos attacking 40 kms before the line to grab a podium while behind it was mayhem among the GC men.

            As a side note, it’s also thanks to “internet experts” like Plataforma de recorridos ciclistas or APM (which, by the way, aren’t haughty individuals but groups, and mostly not millennials – adieu to Theobald’s theories), people who’ve been working “as amateurs” (i.e. in their spare time) on the subject for decades, that the Vuelta in the last 3-4 editions decided to discover again serious routes different from the short monopuerto 2000s classic. And it worked quite well, as you can see above.

            Back to the Giro. The otherwise mediocre 2020 Giro had its high points in every sense in the Stelvio and Sestriere stage, the former which was a real beauty was >200 km and close to 6,000 d+, GC was all over the place on the Stelvio itself 50 kms before the finish line; the latter was way more normal at “only” 190 kms of length but it still lasted some 5 hrs, which didn’t prevent firework at all.
            However less common in week-long stage races, some of them still offer impressive stages, for example this year’s Tirreno with Carpegna’s. Which at 215 kms of length offered a great show in March. Nothing new for Tirreno, given that the year before we had an impressive battle both for the stage and for GC with things blown up 60 kms from the line in the 205 kms “Marche walls” stage.

            I could go on, of course, but I went by memory as for specific stages (yes, I checked the figures ^___^), and I limited myself to the most recent 2019 on period. Not exhaustive, of course, especially in the case of week-long stage races.

            Which doesn’t mean of course that short stages can’t provide a show, the Pogacar one in 2021 TDF was in such a stage after all. Plenty of examples, no doubt, but perhaps less than many would expect. Nonetheless, the fact that short stages can work does *not* mean that long and serious one won’t. Neither does that mean that most short stages are going to deliver a show of sort (Luz Ardiden 2021 anyone? Loudenville 2020? Tourmalet 2019?).

            Those are both urban legend, full stop. The “entertaining” argument, weak as it is, doesn’t even stand against recent facts. And both kind of stages always existed in cycling, even historically – decades back (“evolving” LOL).

            We should be quite much aware that if somebody is pushing for shorter stages there are mainly a couple of reasons:
            – they’re cheaper and easier to organise;
            – on a very general scale (not in every single ocurrence, but economy goes by broader stats), they’re actually more predictable, and make for a more predictable final GC *when* the other kind of stages is eliminated (there are interesting studies about the Vuelta when it avoided longer and harder stages). This is something which big sponsors of big teams *do love*, getting something sure back for their money. Only, it doesn’t exactly correspond to “entertaining cycling”.

            Changing food for snacks might make you happier for 5 minutes – if you are that sort of person! – but it’s a fail in the middle to long term. Which doesn’t make snacks evil or forbidden – yet, don’t forget they’re the result of an economic system trying to have you eat something worse, and much more than you’d need.

          • I think the shorter stages fit better with live television but, as per Gabriel’s point above, they’re much easier to organise for the local authorities and involve less disruption.

    • Not an awful route, not at all, but every single one in the last four editions was probably better. Anyway, this isn’t far behind: in fact, I’d leave a question mark on 2018 and 2019 which were maybe on par with this year for different reasons.
      Of course, route isn’t equal to racing quality. The weakest point this year is the lack of proper endurance testing, not only because of the absence of top-level challenging mountain stages, but also because of a generally too light a third week. I’d even say that’s too light a route after Alpe d’Huez, even, whereas the first part is nicely… tough.
      However, no doubt that how you race makes the race and full-gas Pyrenees stages could become a real endurance test, even, short and without much altitude gain as they are… in case the leaders are left on their own much further than usual from the finish line.
      What’s sure is that the route design doesn’t reward fondo as such. A positive note is that it should offer more occasions for tactical racing.

      • “ The weakest point this year is the lack of proper endurance testing…”

        Well, as you yourself point out. A shorter stage raced full-gas is an endurance test, so… In addition, if we see anything near the temperatures we saw at the Tour de Suisse, 190k+ stages simply become untenable from a health and safety perspective. That said, as climate change worsens, the organizers of all races will inevitably have to either shorten stages or shift the race calendar entirely. In 20 years time it may not be possible to hold the TDF in July.

        • There was a clause: “in case the leaders…”. If they ride full gas but with full team support, it won’t be an endurance test anyway (long story short here). You don’t need that sort of clause with a 6-hour mountain stage, however slowly they ride it (more or less, of course). Everything is possible, but it’s a matter of probabilities.

  4. 3 stages outside France, Pavé stage, Hautacam stage, and Nibali at Astana … mmm …2014 deja vu!
    Let us hope for no people with signs, no loose dogs, no protesting French farmers (though the peloton getting pepper sprayed must have been a first) and only verbal fisticuffs (“fighting talk!”).

  5. With the struggle for certain teams to get UCI points, will this effect the thinking of teams? Bigger breakaways maybe, defending GC positions, more pressure on sprinters (I’m thinking most of Ewan).

  6. Since LeTour has yet to start it’s too early for the keyboard DS’ to weigh-in. Instead it’s the keyboard lions who (in their mind anyway) could do oh-so-much-better than Prudomme and Co. in laying out the route. Of course they’re not there when the bidding for starts/finishes is going on, but they’ve got lots to type once the route comes out. IMHO the riders make the race and 3 weeks is enough to find out whose endurance, skill, tactics, etc. are superior and crown a winner. Vive LeTour!

    • Larry, you probably couldn’t notice but much of the positive change in route design during the last fifteen years or so was prompted by the cycling online community of fans, both in terms of trends and when introducing some specific climbs or roads was concerned. It happened because people comment on existing routes when they’re presented (besides the imaginary “fantagiri” whose design some people find so entertaining). Not speaking of myself of course. So, yes, keyboards lions were responsible of the lion’s share in route innovation (obviously not as much, that was for the wording’s sake). And close to no one was ever paid or acknowledged for that, which brings the occasional naif commenter to that sort of blind adoration of Proudhomme and his staff which you display above. Picking good ideas from others is also a merit, of course. OTOH no fans ever suggested anything as brilliant as the F1 grid which somebody here was recently recalling. As for the lapalissian “riders make the race” (which I also often cite because after all it’s true besides being a truism), it still is not a good reason to avoid appreciating the possibilites granted by a great course or blaming the lack thereof. But you loved those Saronni-Moser-engineered Giri del Pianterreno, so what are we talkin’ about…
      There’s no way a great course can grant a great race (just check the 2020 Giro) but a badly dedigned course will struggle to provide a serious one more often than not (TDF 2016-2017, Giro 2012-2022). And the keyboard lions were often saying that beforehand, no benefit of hindsight. If it was science, it would be called predicting. By the way, the “bidding” argument just show how far you are from the debate precisely because most of it suggests viable alternatives taking for granted the start and finishes of a given stage. Believing that those in charge are the best in what they do, as if the way you do things was the main factor which puts and keeps you in charge… is very much boomer bias. Not every layperson is better than the professionals doing what they do, of course, even less so if you consider all the formal and informal implications of the job as a whole – yet, part of it can be practiced even better by some amateurs, sometimes precisely because they’re “outside the bubble”.

      • Interesting comments. You hit on something that explains a lot of disdain these days for any sort of expertise and the idea that someone sitting on their couch with a smart phone could run a pro cycling team, design a race course or do pretty much anything better than those who do it for real as a profession. It’s far from “blind adoration” but simply that last time I checked Prudhomme’s CV in pro cycling was far better than yours or anyone else’ who writes/comments here. Am I wrong about that? It hit me when you dragged out the “boomer” trope. PhD’s or years of experience don’t mean anything to a certain generation, they somehow “know” everything there is to know….is that caused by smart-phones?
        They like to take credit for things they really had nothing to do with, as your example – “..much of the positive change in route design during the last fifteen years or so was prompted by the cycling online community of fans, both in terms of trends and when introducing some specific climbs or roads was concerned.” while admitting y9u have zero proof of that claim when you followed with – “And close to no one was ever paid or acknowledged for that”
        Sadly, this blog’ comments section has turned into an echo-chamber for self-proclaimed experts in all things cycling….”experts” who don’t work in this field, most of whom have zero experience in it but are convinced they know better.
        They’re often called millennials I guess? They ran this guy out of the sport He simply got tired of arguing with them – his decades of experience teaching new riders had somehow become worthless in their minds. A lot of people don’t know what they don’t know…and don’t wanna know.
        Probably time for this “boomer” to go back to just reading INRNG’s stuff and skipping the comments?

        • Willful ignorance is not a generational thing. I know a lot of millennials who are whip-smart about cycling and a lot of other things. Decades of experience doesn’t mean you’ve actually learned anything.

        • Ay, Larry, you don’t know what I’m speaking about. Some hints above about Spain show just how wrong you got it all.
          Loving that you also write this along: “A lot of people don’t know what they don’t know…and don’t wanna know.” That.

          A couple of further details: that something isn’t acknowledged or paid doesn’t mean there’s no proof about where it comes from. I’ve actually got a PhD on that sort of things ^___^ (and it happens all the time to so many people – way too many – when they’re getting their PhD, by the way).

          And. Expertise isn’t necessarily mirrored by a CV. Another thing you’ll soon learn – by experience, indeed – in a lot of professional fields. Surprised you didn’t. I’m quite sure that the CV of the man you presented us above was “inferior” to so many current DS or even “trainers” in WT teams who may even happen to actually know less than the guy. So what? Skip the authority argument – “ye shall know them by their fruits”. But if you only gulp down and applaude whatever plastic fruit you’re offered, you won’t know ’em much, either.

          Some people even may have an “amateur” decade-long expertise in cycling with personal practice, inside contacts at pro level, even the occasional pro work provided to friends with a job in the field… and whatever else a good ol’ boomer might value… only, these “amateur” people stay “amateur” because they might have *another* profession they’re more interested in.

          • Social media interaction about the sport is mostly a good thing I think, although there are the obvious negative points.
            It promotes inclusivity and interest in it.
            I don’t get the chance to chat much about cycling as it’s not a major sport here in Britain but reading Inner Ring and the comments is very interesting and really enhances my enjoyment of the sport, races and especially grand tours.
            And you do learn other stuff off the back of it.

  7. Thank you inrng for the TdF Guide and for the truly generous and erudite blog in general, which I have followed rigorously since inception.
    I am perhaps one of those naive souls who believe that the riders make the race, and also respect the challenges, practical, financial, administrative and sporting, that the course designers face. I can honestly (perhaps ignorantly to some of you) say that I have enjoyed each and every Tour de France that I have followed, whilst admitting that my dataset is minor, this being, I believe, my 39th.
    Race tactics is a particular passion of mine and, while I often feel I have something of pertinent value- and perhaps a chuckle- to add to the conversation, I demur, concerned that knowledge will be read as arrogance, of which there is more than ample representation herein. I would respectfully suggest to each of us that a tendency to treat this space as our own personal blog is detrimental to the overall enjoyment and, moreover, disrespectful to the founder of the feast. Inrng, by all means zap this with my apology if inappropriate.

    • What a thoroughly heartfelt opinion. Finally!
      Would it be too much to also ask a couple of takes to share about, dunno, the covid pandemic and/or the Ukraine war?

      Yeah, TDF is definitely coming.

      • Easy on the sarcasm. I thank “Breadloaf” for the comment, have been busy – riding Tour stages – so not had much time to calm things down in the comments of late. Plus we’ve had plenty of Covid comments on here of late, plenty from here at least.

        • I actually thought that Breadloaf’s was a nicely balanced piece of satyre hitting on both (or more) sides of the ruffled feathers, but… maybe not.
          Yes, I was ironic writing “heartfelt”, of course, but I actually meant it when I said that I’d love more humour here on themes like the other I named. If it was humour, sure (I still think it was).
          The level of sniping and snaring rises as the TDF approaches, as I noted above, yet I think that against all odds a decent number of comments stayed quite much cycling-related – facets of the sport as a whole if not racing. Not all of them, indeed – and that’s part of the TDF’s eve effect.

  8. I would join in the thanks to INRNG for his sterling work. Thank you. Your valued contributions and insights are very much appreciated.
    For me readers views are always welcome, even if I personally don’t always agree. BUT different perspectives should always be welcome if they relate to the racing. Bike racing is not a precise science.
    The personal and in some cases insulting stuff relating to teams or individuals does little to enhance the quality or purpose of this blog. Best avoided.

    • Many thanks to Inrng for all the work. I also concur that “personal and in some cases insulting stuff” in the comments “does little to enhance the quality or purpose of this blog”.

  9. Looks like it’s getting to be time to just read the blog and skip the comments. When eejits start calling others boomers etc, I’m out.

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