"A first week full of traps" for Julian Alaphilippe

The 109th edition of the Tour de France will be mountainous, race director Christian Prudhomme revealed on Thursday. But the summits will not be the only obstacles on the runners’ route. Many fear a first week full of pitfalls.

Return to the high mountains for the Tour de France. The race director, Christian Prudhomme, revealed on Thursday October 14 the route of the 109th edition of the Great Loop. This year, the race seems promised to climbers. Alpe d’Huez will also be one of the five arrivals at the top of this year’s high mountain peak.

Between the start on July 1 given from Copenhagen, the most northerly in the history of the event created in 1903, and the finish judged as usual on the Champs-Elysées in Paris on July 24, the runners will go through four countries (Denmark, France, Belgium, Switzerland).

They will leave a day earlier than usual, a Friday, in order to allow the transfer to the north of France after the first three Danish days. They will then be entitled to a streak on the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix and stages especially favorable to the punchers in the first week, profiled for riders such as Mathieu van der Poel, Wout van Aert and the world champion Julian Alaphilippe.

The race, as in 2021, will cross the Alps before the Pyrenees and will be determined definitively on the occasion of a 40 km time trial scheduled in the medieval site of Rocamadour, an ancestral place of pilgrimage, on the eve of the ‘arrived in Paris.

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In the Alps, the Col du Granon, at an altitude of 2,413 meters above the Serre-Chevalier resort, makes a symbolic comeback: it was only climbed in the race on July 20, 1986 for the last appearance in Bernard Hinault’s yellow jersey, the last French winner of the event (1985).

France 24 received the first reactions from the peloton at the end of the ceremony

Julian Alaphilippe, double world champion

France wins by bike, it’s Julian Alaphilippe. The cyclist proved it again in September by snatching a second world title from the nose and beard of Belgian riders, yet at home. Winner of the first stage last year, wearing the jersey 18 times, the rider of the Deceunick-Quickstep looks with delight at the new course.

“My first impression is that it makes you want to. The first week will be full of traps. There will be everything: a time trial, curbstones, cobblestones, arrivals for the punchers, it ‘s is sure there will be movement.

I think I’m aiming for stages. I am already going to take my time to take advantage of my short vacation and I will calmly think about the Tour, the stages, when I have recovered. There, I just had the course, it is a little difficult to foresee objectives. “

David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ)

Previously a loyal lieutenant of Thibaut Pinot, David Gaudu has gained prominence over the past two years within Groupama-FDJ. He is now one of the leaders of the French training and, except surprise, his team should count on him to play the general classification for the 2022 edition.

“The first week will be tricky. I had fun on the cobblestones in 2018, it requires recognition and even if it comes early enough, there may already be a lot of gaps after the first stages. in particular this bridge in Denmark which could create borders.

The mountain stages end at the top, it’s interesting. They are very beautiful on paper, very hard. There will be two large blocks: the Col du Granon and Alpe-d’Huez in the Alps, then Peyragudes and Hautacam in the Pyrenees. There will also be a nice finish at the Planche des Belles-Filles. The mountain is a little exploded, with five beautiful arrivals. It will be played on the pedal.

We will decide with the team on the strategy to be adopted. But if there is one stage that I dream of winning, it would be the Col du Granon. She is on my training routes when I am doing an internship in the Alps. I know the roads by heart, Alpe-d’Huez is legendary but these are less my roads. I would leave it to Thibault (Pinot, who won on this pass in 2015, Editor’s note), it’s kind of his preserve, ”concludes David Gaudu, laughing.

Benoit Cosnefroy (AG2R-Citroën)

Very often compared to Julian Alaphilippe because of his puncher qualities, Benoît Cosnefroy does not yet have his record but he is working on it. In 2021, he achieved his first World Tour victory over the Bretagne Classic before placing third at the European Championships. In 2019, he revealed himself to the general public by wearing the polka-dot jersey of the best climber of the Tour de France between the 2nd and 16th stages.

“It is always a particular emotion to discover the map of the Tour. The start will be very stressful, whether for those who are aiming for the general classification or for the rest of the peloton. When you see that we are going to cross a bridge of 20 kilometers … (the Storebæltsbroen, which connects the two main islands of Denmark, Editor’s note) and after, it will be cobblestones!

I discovered the course at the same time as you so I will have to analyze it in more detail after my vacation, but I have noted that Christian Prudhomme mentioned small bumps just before the arrivals. On paper, these are arrivals that suit me “.

Tadej Pogacar, winner of the Tour de France 2020 and 2021 (at AFP)

“It’s a very good course, interesting from the first to the last stage. Sprints, wind, cobblestones, short climbs, long ones, steep ones. It will be a really complete Tour. I can’t wait for it. take the start. I have already won at the Planche des Belles filles (the time trial of the penultimate stage in 2020, Editor’s note). It will be a hard stage, you never know what it is can happen. But it will still be far from the end. I have great memories there, I remember every moment of the climb, I can’t wait to climb it again.

There are a lot of suitors, we’ll talk about that when we get there. I just finished the season, I need some rest before I start thinking about 2022. There’s a little more pressure when you’ve already won, that’s for sure. “

Kasper Asgreen (at AFP)

The Danish rider of the Deceunick-Quickstep, winner of the Tour of Flanders in 2021, is delighted that the Great Loop starts from his native country and is eager to compete in the first three stages at home:

“The time trial on day one is fine for me, it’s going to be a really quick time. It’s good for me. The next day, I hope we have a lot of wind across the bridge. spectacular, there could be big gaps. The third stage will mainly take my training routes, the peloton will pass a few hundred meters from my house. All my friends and family will be there, it will be really special. The first week in general is going to be super interesting. I love cobblestones, it’s really a terrain where I have fun. I like cobblestone classics so it’s a pleasure to see that again at the Tour de France. “

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