The 109th edition of the Tour de France (TDF), the world's greatest sporting event, begins July 1 and following it to learn about all the thrills and disappointments will take up the next 24 days of your life. Last year there were many surprises and records set and we are expecting this year to be just as exciting. Whether you are a long time fan of the TDF or have just discovered it, following are some tips for enjoying this year's event.
A Few Statistics on the Tour de France 2022
An event of over 100 years (109 to be exact) is full of fascinating statistics. Here are some specifics for this year’s event:
Favorite Riders to Follow
Tadej Pogacar – this Slovenian cyclist won the TDF in 2021 and 2020 and is trying for his third victory this year. He is 23 years old, the second youngest rider to ever win the Yellow Jersey of the entire race. He has won every stage race he entered this season and is considered the favorite.
Primoz Roglic – this rider came close to wining the TDF in 2021, but was forced to abandon following a crash. He has recovered and now has another opportunity to show what he can do.
Mark Cavendish - this veteran sprinter energized the race last year by tying the previous record of 34 stage wins held by Eddy Merckx and we were looking forward his breaking the record this year. But in spite of Cavendish being one of the most popular individuals in professional racing and being in good shape, his team did not put him on the roster for this year’s TDF. He is expected to sign onto a new team next year and try again for at least one stage win to break the existing record for most lifetime stage wins.
Chris Froome - the three time British winner of the TDF is back in the event this year with a stated goal of earning stage wins. He reports he is in good shape, but it will be difficult for him to compete for the overall win with this year’s tough competition. He was not a serious competitor the past two years due to injuries.
Cloud of Covid at the Tour de France
Covid has reappeared in many of the European races this year, forcing many riders who contract it to go home without racing. The latest Covid strain is very contagious which results in its spread throughout the peloton. Testing is required every two days, and if riders tests positive, they have to be able to produce a negative test a few hours before the start of a race. There are, unfortunately, false positives. It is not surprising that there is a requirement again for the wearing of masks, social distancing during interviews, and large parties and celebrations are prohibited.
Tour de France Femmes
This year will be the inaugural Tour de France Femmes, an eight-stage women's race. The men only Tour de France has thrived over a hundred years but the organization had been criticized for not offering an official women's Tour de France since the original one day women's race race called La Course was cancelled in 1989. This women's race is set to begin on the Champs-Élysées in Paris in conjunction with the final stage 21 of the men's Tour de France. Twenty-four teams are set to participate in the race this year. The Tour de France Femmes will cover 639 miles and include back-to-back mountain stages, a stage packed with gravel sectors, and four flat stages that could either end in bunch sprints or breakaway wins.
How to Learn More about the Tour de France
To watch a bike race of over 100 miles can be a long day. Broadcasters know it is hard to hold audience attention for several hours with so little action so the hosts on the show fill in the time with commentary and trivia. If you have the time you can have the live event running in the background while you do other things. A hybrid approach for keeping up to date might include viewing the final 30 minutes of a stage live or streaming and to read or listen to stage results and summaries via posts on the internet or podcasts. Highlights from stage finishes or significant events such as crashes worth viewing are usually available as short videos you can watch for free.
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