Here’s the 2022 Tour de France guide. There’s a profile of every stage with a quick summary of the day’s course. You’ll also find reference material on the race rules like time bonuses, the points scale for the green and polka-dot jersey, time cuts and more in case you need to look them up in the coming weeks, just remember inrng.com/tour …or bookmark it.
Intense. This is another Tour that goes east, cutting out the boring bits of France and is all the better for this. Denmark brings novelty in the location but is arguably the most traditional part of the course with an opening TT chased by two sprint stages although beware if the wind blows, especially for the Great Belt bridge. 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… the first week is an obstacle course rather than the warm-up of old and just reaching the rest day in Morzine untroubled will be a relief for many. The Alps and the Pyrenees feature heavily this year with the Col du Granon making a long-awaited return and Alpe d’Huez is famously difficult.
There are six likely sprint finishes across the three weeks 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. The mountains competition is simplified, gone are the “double HC” climbs were a GC contender could collect the jersey by accident, it should help the raiders more.
There’s only one stage more than 200km and the majority of mountain stages are shorter than 150km so while Stage 12 to Alpe d’Huez is a big day, it’s not long 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. So far, so Vuelta… but trend of shrinking time trials is halted here, there’s 53km in total, and at 40km the penultimate stage is the longest solo TT in the Tour since 2013.
Stage 1 – Friday 1 July
An opening time trial around Copenhagen and a mix of corners and big roads, it’s a circuit around many of the capital’s inner city tourist attractions and institutions.
Stage 2 – Saturday 2 July
Flat for the sprinters even if there are three climbs to get the mountains competition started. It’s got a maritime feel along the coast almost all the time. It crosses the Great Belt bridge, a terrifying 18km concrete tightrope above the sea where a sea breeze could shred the peloton.
Stage 3 – Sunday 3 July
A trip south to Sønderborg and a likely sprint stage.
Stage 4 – Tuesday 5 July
After a day’s travel to France, more coastal action with a race between the ferry ports of Dunkerque to Calais, only via the cliffs and capes before the finish, this is a tricky stage especially if the wind blows because the final parts are very exposed.
Stage 5 – Wednesday 6 July
Lille to Arenberg and a mini Paris-Roubaix in reverse, right down to using some of the spring classic’s cobbled sectors backwards. Now the Tour’s borrowed the pavé many times but this year it’s got stones galore and way harder sectors than usual Tour “lite” visits. So on top of the usual “should the Tour use the pavé?” articles on the day, expect “did they have to pick such tough sectors?” variants. Will it rain?
Stage 6 – Thursday 7 July
A calmer day but still with a lively finish and the longest stage of the race at 220km. In the past this would have been a “Peter Sagan stage”, he’s won in Longwy after all, you might remember he undid his shoe from the pedal, clipped it back in, and won. Even if he can keep pedalling he won’t have it so easy.
Stage 7 – Friday 8 July
The first summit finish of the Tour de France and if there’s climbing along the way, this all all about the Super Planche des Belles Filles, the steep climb in the Vosges with the even steeper 20% gravel section up a ski slope at the top.
Stage 8 – Saturday 9 July
This crosses the Jura range from France to Switzerland where cheese and luxury watches alike are made before descending to saunter along the shores of Lake Geneva where a very spicy uphill finish awaits in Lausanne. Despite the climbing this stage offers maximum points for the green jersey competition, an advantage for a rider like Wout van Aert or but even he won’t find the finish easy.
Stage 9 – Sunday 10 July
The Alps and a scenic stage in Switzerland. It starts in Aigle, home of the UCI but this is no power play, the area just wants to promote itself as an Alpine cycling destination and if the sun is shining you’ll see why. There’s plenty of climbing and descending and all on pristine Swiss roads but it’s a warm-up for what’s to come later in the Alps, the Col de la Croix and Pas de Morgins aren’t too fierce before a drag up to the line.
Stage 10 – Tuesday 12 July
An intriguing stage on the edge of the Alps, a mid-mountain stage that’s open to many riders. The race goes to the Megève “altiport”, a long drag up to the small airstrip used in the 2020 Dauphiné but this time combined with ascent from the valley it makes for a 25km uphill slog.
Stage 11 – Wednesday 13 July
An emblematic stage of the 2022 Tour: Alpine, short and concludes with a steep climb. There’s quick sashay via the Lacets de Montvernier on the way to the giant 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% but 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 – Thursday 14 July
The 14 July national holiday and offers fireworks and dancing and that’s just the bike racing. 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 to Alpe d’Huez.
Stage 13 – Friday 15 July
It’s off to Saint Etienne, a post-industrial city that’s been a regular host of Paris-Nice and the Dauphiné and if the city sits below several mountains this day is intended for the sprinters who have by now endured a week without a chance.
Stage 14 – Saturday 16 July
Two races for the price of one. 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, back again.
Stage 15 – Sunday 17 July
A breakaway day or a sprint stage? Maybe it’ll depend if the wind is blowing. It’s not flat, that’s sure as it crosses the Montagne Noire from Revel so there’s some climbing before the finish in Carcassonne, famous for its medieval cité.
Stage 16 – Tuesday 19 July
Into the Pyrenees and some of the wilder and smaller climbs with the Port de Lers and the steep Mur de Péguère before a fast descent to Foix, a route used before in the Tour, last time Warren Barguil won here.
Stage 17 – Wednesday 20 July
A hard stage in the Pyrenees with a lot packed into less than 130km. The final climb to Peyragudes is much of the Col de Peyresourde before turning off and then using the runway of the local airport which sounds ordinary but it’s one of the world’s steepest airstrips with the final kilometre at 16%.
Stage 18 – Thursday 21 July
Another short stage, another summit finish and a hard stage where the climbers wanting to win will have to churn the 54T chainring on the plains just to get in the breakaway that should form before the mountains. Then it’s the big climb of the Aubisque, the Spandelles and then to Hautacam, the ski station near Lourdes that starts off easily but quickly gets into double-digit gradients.
Stage 19 – Friday 22 July
A transition stage across easygoing countryside that will be bursting with sunflowers. A sprint stage on paper but late into the third week makes it the last chance for everyone else to get a stage win so there should be a battle. Remember the Danish start? The route goes near the summer residence of the Danish royal family in Luzech on the banks of the sleepy river Lot.
Stage 20 – Saturday 23 July
A 40km time trial. After a fast start things get harder towards the finish with two climbs and some high speed descents, it’s all on postcard scenery including the finish in Rocamadour, an ancient town built into the cliff.
Stage 21 – Sunday 24 July
The usual 60km parade that mutates into a 60km criterium and the finish on the Champs Elysées.
Yellow: the most famous one, the maillot jaune, it is awarded to the rider with the shortest overall time for all the stages added together, the rider who has covered the course faster than anyone else. First awarded in 1919, it is yellow because the race was organised by the newspaper L’Auto which was printed on yellow paper. Today it is sponsored by LCL, a bank. There are time bonuses of 10-6-4 seconds for the finish of each stage except the time trials. There have been time bonuses atop mountain passes in recent years but no more.
Green: the points jersey, which tends to reward the sprinters. Points are awarded at the finish line and at one intermediate point in the stage and the rider with the most points wears the jersey. It is sponsored by Skoda, a car manufacturer
- Stages “without particular difficulties” (Stages 2,3,4,5,6,8,13,15,19,21) 50-30-20-18-16-14-12-10-8-7-6-5-4-3 and 2 points for the first 15 riders
- “Rolling” stages (Stages 7,10,14,16): 30-25-22-19-17-15-13-11-9-7-6- 5-4-3-2 points
- “Very difficult” stages and time trials (Stages 1,4,9,11,12,17,18,21) : 20-17-15-13-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 points
- Intermediate sprints: 20-17-15-13-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 points
Polka dot: also known as the “King of the Mountains” jersey, points are awarded at the top of categorised climbs and mountain passes, with these graded from the easier 4th category to the hors catégorie climbs which are so hard they are off the scale. In reality these gradings are subjective. Again the rider with the most points wears the jersey. It is sponsored by Leclerc, a supermarket.
- Hors Catégorie (7 in total): 20-15-12-10-8-6-4-2 points
- Category 1 climbs (10): 10-8-6-4-2-1 points
- Category 2 (6): 5-3-2-1 points
- Category 3 (16): 2-1 points
- Category 4 (22): 1 point
White: for the best young rider, this is awarded on the same basis as the yellow jersey, except the rider must be born after 1 January 1997, ie aged 25 or under. It is sponsored by Krys, a retail chain of opticians
If a rider leads several classifications, they take the most prestigious jersey for themselves and the number two ranked rider in the other competition gets to wear the other jersey. For example if a rider has both the yellow jersey and the mountains jersey they’ll wear yellow while whoever is second in the mountains jersey will sport the polka dot jersey. If a rider has all the jerseys the priority yellow, green, polka dot then white.
There’s also a daily “most combative” prize awarded every day to the rider who has attacked the most or tried the hardest. It is a subjective prize and awarded by a jury. The rider gets to stand on the podium after the stage and wear a red race number the next day. There will be a final Supercombatif prize with involvement from the jury and social media. It is sponsored by Antargaz, a bottled gas company.
Normally a one second gap on the finish line is needed to separate groups in a finish but for Stages 2,3,4,13,15,19 and 21, the likely sprint stages, three seconds is needed for a split in the field. The three kilometre rule doesn’t apply on Stages 1, 6,7,8,9,10,11,12,14,17,18 and 20.
Stages are given a coefficient rating from 1-6, look up the stage in question in the table above. Then see the average speed for the day’s winner and look up the corresponding line below.
The unmissable stages
This is the Tour de France and there’s always something to watch but there are some stages that matter more than others. If you need to plan ahead, here are some suggestions:
- Stage 1: the prestige of the yellow jersey awaits the winner and a form test
- Stage 2: if it’s windy for the Great Belt Bridge
- Stage 5: the cobbles
- Stage 7: the first summit finish at La Planche des Belles Filles
- Stage 11: the Col du Granon high altitude summit finish
- Stage 12: Alpe d’Huez
- Stage 18: the last chance in the Pyrenees
- Stage 20: if it’s still close on GC, the TT to settle it
Every stage will be shown live from start to finish. Think of it like the radio, something to have in the background, or tune in from time-to-time via your phone in case there’s early action. The daily finish time varies between 5.00pm-5.40pm CEST.
Host broadcaster is France Télévisions and their output will be broadcast on a variety of channels around the world. There is no free stream on the internet but you will find a feast of legitimate feeds from local broadcasters and international sources like Eurosport-GCN. There’s radio in France with live coverage on RMC, as well as regular updates and phone-ins on France Info, RTL and Europe 1.
The Cash Prizes
- Each day on a normal stage there’s €11,000 for the winner, €5,500 for second place and a decreasing scale down to a modest €300 for 20th place
- For the final overall classification in Paris, first place brings in €500,000 and the Sèvres porcelain “omnisports trophy”, awarded “in the name of the Presidency of the French Republic”. The full breakdown is €500,000 for first place, €200,000 for second place, €100,000 for third place and then €70,000, €50,000, €23,000, €11,500, €7,600, €4,500, €3,800, €3,000, €2,700, €2,500, €2,100, €2,000 €1,500, €1,300, €1,200 and €1,100 for 19th place. €1000 for 20th-160th overall
There are other pots of money available in the race:
- €500 a day to whoever wears the yellow jersey, €300 for the other jersey holders
- €25,000 for the final winner of the green and polka dot jerseys
- €20,000 for the final winner of the white jersey
- There’s also money for the first three in the intermediate sprint each day: €1,500, €1000 and €500
- The climbs have cash too with the first three over an HC climb earning €800, €450 and €300 and lesser sums for lesser climbs
- The highest point in the race sees the Henri Desgrange prize awarded at the top of the Galibier on Stage 11 and is worth €5,000
- The “most combative” prize is awarded and worth €2,000 each day, the “Super combative” prize is awarded in Paris and the winner collects €20,000.
- There’s also a team prize with €2,800 awarded each day to the leading team on the overall, €50,000 for the final winners in Paris. Note the team prize is calculated by adding the time of the best three riders each day rather than the best three on GC. For example if a team has riders A, B and C make the winning break one day then their times for the stage are taken and added together. If riders X, Y and Z on the same team go up the road the next day, their times are taken. So it’s the times of a team’s best three riders each day as opposed to the best three riders overall.
The total prize pot is €2,282,000, meagre for an event of this scale but remember that unlike, say tennis or golf, pro cyclists are salaried and prize money instead is incidental, a nice bonus on the side. Win a Tour stage and a rider might add a zero onto their salary, maybe more and so the race creates value rather than paying it. Then always remember prize money is shared around the team (as well as levied and taxed) rather than pocketed by the winner, it’s possible the actual prize winner collects as little as 5% of the headline sum. In addition, every team that starts gets paid €51,243 to cover expenses. And should a squad make it to Paris with six or more riders they stand to collect an additional €1,600 bonus for each rider.