Who will be victorious at the Tour de France 2022? Read on to inform your cycling predictions ahead of this year's race which gets underway on July 1.
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The 109th edition of the Tour de France will start in the Danish capital Copenhagen on July 1, with the greatest cyclists on earth all dreaming of wearing the iconic yellow jersey into Paris.
The peloton will face 21 days of racing, also known as stages, featuring six flat stages, seven hilly stages and six mountain stages. There will also be two time trials, where riders race individually against the clock, raced on the opening and penultimate days.
As has become tradition, the Tour will finish on Paris' most iconic avenue, the Champs-Elysees, with this year's race concluding on July 24.
How does the Tour de France work?
The yellow jersey is the garment worn by the leader of the Tour. The jersey is awarded to the rider who has reached that point of the race in the least time, with his total calculated after each day of racing.
However, it is not just the yellow jersey that is up for grabs, with each stage often serving a purpose. The green jersey is worn by the leader of the points competition, with the most points handed out on days expected to end in a sprint. Similarly, the polka-dot jersey is for the rider who has collected the most points in the mountains.
Finally, the white jersey is awarded to the rider highest on the general classification, who is also 26 years of age or younger.
The 2022 edition of the Tour will be raced over 3,328km, or 2,068m, and features 22 teams, each made up of eight riders.
Tour de France 2022 predictions: Which Slovenian superstar will come out on top?
Ask any cycling fan to name the best two riders in the world and the majority will tell you those men are UAE Team Emirates' Tadej Pogacar and Team Jumbo-Visma's Primoz Roglic.
The pair both hail from Slovenia and have dominated in recent years. Pogacar has won the last two Tour de France titles and is expected to be the favourite heading into the race.
2018 winner Geraint Thomas could have an outside chance after winning the Tour de Suisse
Roglic has won the last three editions of the Vuelta a Espana and famously came second in this race in 2020 when usurped by Pogacar on the penultimate day, before crashing out last year.
Roglic does have a significant advantage due to the strength of his Team Jumbo-Visma squad and will feel this could be his year, having already won Paris-Nice and the Criterium du Dauphine, with both races seen as form gauges for the Tour.
The Criterium du Dauphine was especially impressive as his team recorded a one-two in the overall, with Dane Jonas Vingegaard, second last year in the Tour, also the runner-up there.
Vingegaard and Roglic's dynamic will be fascinating to follow, with the younger rider also holding his own individual ambitions.
2018 winner Geraint Thomas could have an outside chance after winning the Tour de Suisse, although much will depend on whether he is given sole leadership of Ineos Grenadiers, while Bora-Hansgrohe's Aleksandr Vlasov should also be up there.
Tour de France 2022 predictions: Could this be Caleb's year?
Lotto-Soudal's Caleb Ewan has a somewhat love-hate relationship with the Tour. The Australian has won five stages but never worn the green jersey. Making it through the mountains is often his issue but he has looked sharp during several sprint stages throughout 2022.
Could he finally wear green into Paris? Mark Cavendish and Sam Bennett have been the sprinting thoroughbreds who have won this competition in each of the last two years and the organisers again seem to have engineered a route to aid the quicker men.
Before Bennett and Cavendish's successes, the consistent Peter Sagan, who is expected to ride for Team TotalEnergies, won this prize a record seven times between 2012 and 2019 thanks to his ability to both compete in sprints and pick up further points in the mountains.
Jumbo-Visma's Wout van Aert won on the Champs-Elysees in 2021 and will be another green jersey contender. However, will his efforts in the mountains in support of Roglic and Vingegaard compromise his pursuit of individual points?
Tour de France 2022: Homegrown riders worth a watch
The 2022 Tour spends time in Denmark, Belgium, and Switzerland but it is, of course, France where the majority of the racing will take place and the local riders will be out in force.
As ever, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl's Julian Alaphilippe will look to ignite the race and could well be a contender in the King of the Mountains classification. As could compatriots Warren Barguil of Arkea Samsic, who won the polka dot jersey in 2017, and B&B Hotels p/b KTM's Pierre Rolland, winner of this competition at the Criterium du Dauphine.
The day of the Tour that all the French riders look forward to is July 14, better known as Bastille Day, which is always a national holiday. This year, it falls on stage 12 and with that day's race finishing with a climb up arguably the Tour's most iconic mountain, Alpe d'Huez, all three will be desperate to contend.