Tour de France Tour de France 2022 route rumors thread.

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Can't get to the Vosges earlier than stage 15 without ditching the TT on stage 10, so I would have to cut the Porrentruy stage for that to happen. Which is comfortably the best mid-mountain option at any point in the race, and therefore IMO worth sacrificing Chévrères for.

Porrentruy (much like PdBF) is also inconveniently located for a transfer to Lyon, not being near an airport, although the TGV might be an option. Even if you make it happen, I'm not the biggest fan of that Grand Colombier stage, I also feel like it backloads the race too much as it means the three hardest mountain stages are all in the final week. Plus, I wanted to bait ASO a little with the short mountain stages.

Stage 11 of 2012 and stage 18 of 2020 to close out the race is an option I remember considering, but I decided against it because it would mean there isn't be a single pure descent finish in the race. No Col du Mollard detour on the La Toussuire stage in 2012 would have made me change my mind, though, perhaps even if the 2017 Chambéry stage took the shortest route between Grand Colombier and Mont du Chat by descending into Culoz from the former. As it is, I think there's little to separate the two options, and so there's definitely an element of personal preference in my decision.
I don't see the gain from having a "pure" descent finish (Chat) over descent finishes to Grand-Bornand and especially La Roche-sur-Foron. A second rest day transfer of that length is a total non-issue imo. I'm not too fond of the GC MTF, but thought you'd prefer one proper MTF. I'd go with Megève instead.

Yeah, I don't have any strong opinion on PdBF/Porrentruy vs. Géradmer/PdBF, just another option to consider. Pushing the last rest day a day further is also off the table.

And looking at the weekdays again, I would probably take your stage to Valence out and insert a Zwischenzug after stage 6 (probably one of the stages to Foix/Prat d'Albis). An alternative approach would be to go for the Vallon-Pont d'Arc ITT after Mende (which will be raced the same no matter what follows), which would also leave space for Géradmer/PdBF/Porrentruy. Free to pick between Megève and Besançon TT as well.

Hmm ...

1: Nice ITT
2: Nice
3: Marseille
4: Montpellier
5: Castres
6: Ax-3
7: Prat d'Albis
8: Rodez
9: Mende
10: Vallon-Pont d'Arc ITT

11: Roubaix
12: Épernay
13: Nancy (2019 to compensate the sprinters now that it's not in the weekend)
14: Géradmer
15: PdBF
16: Porrentruy

17: Besançon ITT
18: Grand-Bornand (EDIT2: without the GC MTF, you can just as well have the Chat stage here as a substitute; it'd result in a minimally longer transfer, but Prat d'Albis can be taken out again and then your Oyonnaz stage can come back)
19: Toussuire
20: La Roche-sur-Foron
21: Paris

EDIT: Just to clarify, the only reason why I brought this up after I stumbled over your post, was because I think it's a really good idea worth exploring, and it was a fun constraint to limit to the actual routes of a ten-year period.
 
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Short but ITT nonetheless, potentially wind, wind, wind, then cobbles...there could be pre-race contenders minutes behind. The finish in Longwy could be entertaining. I like La Planche, super or not, it's in my region, so I'm biased but for very little expense, ASO could use le Mont Poupet and several nearby climbs can be used for a good run-in https://www.cyclingcols.com/col/Poupet

I hope that we have one or better two windy stages on 2-3-4, and we could have an interesting GC to look at after the stage in Pinotland.

Heading into the weekend, this is the most boring "Jura Stage" that one could possibly design. Zero GC action to be expected. Not even one of those types of finishes where Simon takes 15 seconds on everybody, 25 seconds on some.

THIS stage 9 before a rest day...meh...a bit too light considering that the day before ASO sold us that the Jura is as flat as Florida. A couple of riders may get exposed, the Froome thread goes cold, meh.

A wasted week-end for the GC? Possibly I'm afraid. But things will happen. Vincenzo Nibali (although he doesn't know it) will win this bike race. Mark my words...
 
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No more double points on HC climbs. Hence likely no more polka dot jersey for the duo.
 



No more double points on HC climbs. Hence likely no more polka dot jersey for the duo.
Good news. Should make the KoM a proper battle
 
Doubling the dots on this year's route would make Sysiphus a worthy contender.
Sensible decision.

And the sprint placings (along with the flat profiles) show ASO's intentions in that classification too.

A bit of a classic feel to the route overall.
The Alps long and high. The Pyrenees hot and intense.
Longing for the wind and challenging punchy finales are kind of novel practice... make the relevance of every stage.

The success of the race will depend on the contenders. Or, should I say, the ability of the field to push a contender.
 
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There are few things as predictable in cycling as ASO going back and forth between 'the KOM jersey keeps getting won by GC riders who aren't even really targeting it and it devalues the jersey' and 'the KOM jersey keeps getting won by attackers who are nowhere near the best climbers in the race and it devalues the jersey' every so often.

The actual problem is that GT route design has become increasingly tilted towards crowning the best climber as opposed to the best overall rider, thereby making the KOM jersey a secondary target at best for the more onedimensional climber types that used to fight over it in its heyday. To his credit, Pogacar makes the most convincing case since Hinault for being both the strongest climber and the strongest rider overall, but that doesn't change the fact that the decline of the KOM jersey predates his career by decades.

Now you could attempt to address the situation by rebalancing the reward for the KOM jersey (and the points classification and stage wins, for that matter) as opposed to GC top-10s. Currently, a minor jersey and a stage win at the Tour both give 120 UCI points. For comparison, 12th on GC yields 125 points. Meanwhile, 6th on GC is worth 400 points. In terms of prize money, it's also really slanted - minor classifications wins are worth €25000 while stage wins are worth €11000, comparable to 6th and 7th on GC (€23000 and €11500 respectively) - but that's chump change compared to the €500000 the GC winner takes home, so that tells you that ASO values the polkadots at one-twentieth of the yellow jersey.

So for someone like Enric Mas who's on a team that needs the points, going hunting for stages and KOMs is never going to be worth it compared to a half-decent ride for GC, in spite of even a podium position being nearly impossible for him. Would that have been different with a fairer UCI points distribution? Maybe, but you also need to factor in that finishing 6th on GC is much easier for him than it would have been on the routes during the heyday of the KOM jersey, and the KOM-plus-stages approach will always be riskier than the halfway-the-top-10-on-GC approach.

So what if rebalancing the rewards for GC and the KOM jersey (and everything else) doesn't cut it? In that case, either you keep the balance the way it is and accept the status of the KOM classification as a nice bonus (e.g. Pogacar 2021/20), consolation prize (e.g. Bardet 2019) or most aggressive rider's jersey (e.g. Alaphilippe 2018) depending on the exact points allocation, racing situation and number of MTFs, or rethink what a GC rider, and therefore a GT route, is supposed to be like. And we all know which option is preferred by ASO (and Unipublic, and these days RCS too).
 
There are few things as predictable in cycling as ASO going back and forth between 'the KOM jersey keeps getting won by GC riders who aren't even really targeting it and it devalues the jersey' and 'the KOM jersey keeps getting won by attackers who are nowhere near the best climbers in the race and it devalues the jersey' every so often.

The actual problem is that GT route design has become increasingly tilted towards crowning the best climber as opposed to the best overall rider, thereby making the KOM jersey a secondary target at best for the more onedimensional climber types that used to fight over it in its heyday. To his credit, Pogacar makes the most convincing case since Hinault for being both the strongest climber and the strongest rider overall, but that doesn't change the fact that the decline of the KOM jersey predates his career by decades.

Now you could attempt to address the situation by rebalancing the reward for the KOM jersey (and the points classification and stage wins, for that matter) as opposed to GC top-10s. Currently, a minor jersey and a stage win at the Tour both give 120 UCI points. For comparison, 12th on GC yields 125 points. Meanwhile, 6th on GC is worth 400 points. In terms of prize money, it's also really slanted - minor classifications wins are worth €25000 while stage wins are worth €11000, comparable to 6th and 7th on GC (€23000 and €11500 respectively) - but that's chump change compared to the €500000 the GC winner takes home, so that tells you that ASO values the polkadots at one-twentieth of the yellow jersey.

So for someone like Enric Mas who's on a team that needs the points, going hunting for stages and KOMs is never going to be worth it compared to a half-decent ride for GC, in spite of even a podium position being nearly impossible for him. Would that have been different with a fairer UCI points distribution? Maybe, but you also need to factor in that finishing 6th on GC is much easier for him than it would have been on the routes during the heyday of the KOM jersey, and the KOM-plus-stages approach will always be riskier than the halfway-the-top-10-on-GC approach.

So what if rebalancing the rewards for GC and the KOM jersey (and everything else) doesn't cut it? In that case, either you keep the balance the way it is and accept the status of the KOM classification as a nice bonus (e.g. Pogacar 2021/20), consolation prize (e.g. Bardet 2019) or most aggressive rider's jersey (e.g. Alaphilippe 2018) depending on the exact points allocation, racing situation and number of MTFs, or rethink what a GC rider, and therefore a GT route, is supposed to be like. And we all know which option is preferred by ASO (and Unipublic, and these days RCS too).
It goes beyond route design and is very much down to better training and equipment.

Merckx wouldnt be a top climber in this day and age
 
How can that be fair? Robbed.
All changes to the GPM have been unfair, and they have been with the intent of protecting its value and improving competition for it in order to increase the spectacle. The GPM has to bend around the route design and as a result as parcours trends change, the GPM changes to react to this.

The doubling of points was applied on all stages where a HC, cat.1 or cat.2 climb was the last climb of the day. This was introduced as a response to the Richard Virenque method, creating the classic "king of the breakaways" where he simply went away knowing full well he had no chance of winning the stage, but collecting points and then being brought back wearing a Monday morning commute expression having done his job for the day, then saving energy to do the same again. This stood in contrast to the traditional use of these long breaks by climbing specialists, à la Bahamontes, Fuente, van Impe, Herrera and Chiappucci, who were elite climbers with lopsided skillsets who were going on long attacks and winning mountain summits in an attempt to improve their GC position in the only location that suited them, back in the days of nearly 200km of time trial. However, improvements in professionalism and the depth of the péloton meant these 100km four col escapes were the exception not the norm, and time trial mileage was reduced to try to improve spectacle - but thereby this reduced the deficits for the climbers on the GC, meaning they were more tightly marked, less inclined to go on those high risk attacks, or both. The doubling of points served to benefit both MTFs and final climb attacks among GC men and balanced the GC threats against the Virenque point-collectors.

Then there was an era where bonus seconds for stage wins/podiums were removed, to try to redress the change to the balance of the parcours in the TT, and also because it was the "péloton à deux vitesses" era and there were no French GC candidates, so arranging it so there was less incentive for the heads of state to chase the break gave riders like Sandy Casar, Pierrick Fédrigo, Christophe Riblon and Cyril Dessel their days to shine. Combining this disincentivisation of the GC guys chasing the break down with the dreadful stages of around 2009-10 where there were final climbs paying double points but being 70km+ from the finish so nobody in their right mind would attack on them, this overbalanced the GPM in favour of the escapees, so after the damp squib of 2010 where Radioshack chased down Christophe Moreau to stop Caisse d'Epargne threatening the Teams Classification (Unzué again) and Anthony Charteau was thereby mathematically already the KOM before the queen stage even got 10km up the road, they redesigned it again so that double points only happened when it was an MTF.

This worked OK for a while, with Samu and Quintana winning as GC riders and Majka winning in the "salvage a race that had gone awry" fashion, but with the recent trend of TT mileage going ever downwards, and the decreasing number of stages with multiple passes, the number of points available for MTFs has meant it has become increasingly difficult to win the GPM if you are not a GC man, and they by and large are not targeting it (it's not Spain in the 60s anymore) because they're targeting the yellow jersey. ASO were unlucky in 2019 that the weather robbed us of what would have likely been one of the best GPM fights in years, with Simon Yates (probably the most worthy winner for my money, in similar style to Majka's wins or Nieve and Landa's Giro GPMs), Bardet and Quintana duking it out over the last two days. But in 2020 you had two weeks of almost no competition for the jersey as there were so many points available in the last few days relative to the rest of the race that no competition even developed; and then Richard Carapaz - absolutely an elite climber - trying to win the GPM in the fashion of Majka or Bardet, but despite lighting up consecutive mountain stages and collecting almost every point available on a major mountain stage, he lost out to a GC man who had only picked up points by rolling over the summit with the heads of state and attacking on a couple of final climbs. In 2021, Wout Poels and Michael Woods (as well as Nairo Quintana) - again, the kind of riders who might be a sensible bet for somebody who would target the GPM - actively went out there targeting that jersey, but despite near constant battles in the breaks to secure points, weren't able to beat Pogačar because with such a huge haul of points on hand for MTFs and his winning back to back stages on HC summits in week 3, he overhauled nearly three weeks of work from some genuinely strong climbers in a couple of days without trying.

It's similar to the green jersey overhaul a decade or so ago. Mark Cavendish won 11 stages across the 2009 and 2010 Tours, but he lost the jersey to two riders who won 3 stages between them in those races - 6-1 in 2009 and 5-2 in 2010. The green jersey had already been tilted in sprinters' favour to prevent it being won by default by GC men, by making some stages worth more points than others (which also had the linked outcome of making the punishment for missing the time cut less, too, as mountain stages pay fewer points than flat ones), but the divide between victories and placements was deemed too low when Petacchi need just shadow Cav for most of the 2010 race and Hushovd managed to settle the green jersey in 2009 not by winning a sprint but by going on a solo break in the mountains, completely the opposite of the intention of the jersey.
 
Epic post @Libertine Seguros

Raises the interesting and valid point that given the route is different every year that in itself acts as a powerful influence on the jersey competitions like Green and KOM.

With the Green jersey peak Sagan was so outrageously suited to the comp that almost every twist would still have seen him heavy favourite to win it.

KOM is perennially tricky because you want to see it earned in a battle and not won as a bonus extra to stomping the GC but you also want it to win by a genuinely top line climber who would not just get dropped cold on every mtf by the GC group.
 
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Thanks for all the detailed answers. Especially @Libertine Seguros. Note that when i wrote "robbed" i likely should hinted more obviously that in reality i am rather OK if the duo will be fighting for yellow and other jerseys to be "out of reach". But on the other hand i agree that on lets say TDF 2021 the polka dot jersey got the rightful owner. It would be hard to claim otherwise. At the same time i agree that the competition for such jersey as a whole did suffer in regards to being less interesting.
 
Basically yes. If you want the polka dots jersey to be correct and boring then currently likely a Slovenian will win it. If you want to make this competition more interesting then currently the system must be biased toward a non best climber and non GC type of cyclist.

P.S. Like lets say Froome.
 
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Basically yes. If you want the polka dots jersey to be correct and boring then currently likely a Slovenian will win it. If you want to make this competition more interesting then currently the system must be biased toward a non best climber and non GC type of cyclist.

P.S. Like lets say Froome.
If a GC is supposed to be a true test of the best overall cyclist then shouldn’t the best climber not always be the winner? In other words, shouldn’t a climbing specialist always win the polka dots and still be a better climber than the GC winner, in a true well rounded competition? Maybe this is a rant about how GCs are structured but the whole polka dot jersey situation is kind of underwhelming because it’s either a random breakaway rider or the overall winner, every time.
 

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