21 BEST 2022 TOUR DE FRANCE PHOTOS – A WEEK 1 GALLERY
The first seven stages of the 2022 Tour de France featured blockbuster crowds, a heart-wrenching back-from-the-brink triumph and a tale of persistance paying off. We also had fjords and giant bridges, Normandy beaches, cobbled mining roads and storied climbs. Take a look at out recap for the first third of the 2000-mile-plus, 21-stage extravaganza.
Stage 1 – An 8.2 mile time-trial round Copenhagen
After a sweltering week, rain began to soak Copenhagen an hour before the Grand Depart. But blockbuster crowds kitted out in colorful ponchos created a wall of sound that reverberated around the city, emotions hit a fever pitch as local lad Jonas Vingegaard raced up Hans Christian Andersen avenue towards the finish line. Belgian Yves Lampaert won the individual test to claim the first yellow jersey. “I beat the big guys,” said the crying 31-year-old Quick Step rider.
A wall of sound reverberates around Copenhagen
“I’m just a farmer’s son, I never expected this.” said an emotional Yves Lampaert after his winning effort to take the yellow jersey.
Stage 2 – 126 miles Roskilde to Nyborg
Rural Denmark also turned out in raucous droves to roar on the riders as Dutchman Fabio Jakobsen won a mass bunch sprint ahead of Wout van Aert, shortly after crossing the 12-mile-long Great Belt Bridge.
Magnus Cort Nielsen went on the offensive in an effort to win the Polka Dot jersey.
“It’s like a second life.,” said Jakobsen, just two years after a near fatal cycling crash on the Tour of Poland. “I’ll remember this day forever,” he said. So will Nyborg, which threw the biggest party in its history.
Stage 3 – 105 miles Vejle – Sonderborg
A showman on and off the bike, Rigoberto Uran embraced the final day in Denmark.
Belgian powerhouse Wout van Aert came second for the third time in three days which earned him the yellow jersey, after Dane Magnus Cort Nielsen was cheered along his home roads as he broke away in his polka dot King of the Mountains jersey. Dylan Groenewegen won the stage to mark his comeback after a long ban for causing Jakobsen’s crash. “He won yesterday but today was my day,” he said.
King of the Mountains, King of Denmark
Stage 4 – 106 miles Dunkirk to Calais
Not to be out done, French fans clamored to the roadside as the peloton began its first stage in France.
After three second places, Van Aert pulled off an almost impossible breakaway over the final 6 miles, the Jumbo rider waved is arms at the finish line, saying “the yellow jersey gave me wings”.
If at first you don’t succeed…
Stage 5 – 97 miles Lille to Arenberg
Cobbles, dust and persistence
Old cobbled mining roads and billowing clouds of dust were on the menu as Tadej Pogacar gave his rivals and Wout van Aert a fright by launching an attack to take a few seconds out of everyone as Australian veteran Simon Clarke of Israel Premier Tech won the stage.
“I like the cobbles,” smiled the 23-year-old Team UAE leader Pogacar. Van Aert held onto the overall lead despite an early fall and said he had dug deep so he could wear the yellow in Belgium on stage six.
Stage 6 – 136 miles Binche to Longwy
Eddy Merckx must’ve heard Wout van Aert’s plan for the stage.
Van Aert paraded his yellow jersey through Belgium after a start at Binche, and led for over 80 miles before he was caught.
“It feels like the first time,” said the defending champion tugging at his yellow jersey. His rivals had seen it all before. Van Aert swapped yellow for green and said ” I wanted to remember my last day in yellow, and give my fans something to remember too.”
Pogacar launched a late blistering attack in the final mile to win the stage and take the yellow jersey.
Stage 7 – 109 miles Tomblaine to La Super Planche des Belles Filles
Tadej Pogacar pulled on yellow to start stage 7 alongside Magnus Cort in Polka Dots, Wout van Aert in Green and Tom Pidcock in the white jersey.
A gruesome gravel climb
Pogacar insisted that all the effort he put in here, with 14 stages still to go, had been due to the iconic nature of La Planche des Belles Filles where he won the Tour de France in 2020. He refused to allow an escape to get away for the win and tracked key rival Vingegaard up the final slope. His final kick produced a great, rolling roar of approval from the crowd. An upcoming French heatwave gives his rivals some hope, as the Slovenian’s only weak moment last year came in searing conditions.