The Tour de France 2022, which starts this Friday July 1, will have seven Occitan stages. Between mythical passes and arrivals of more surprising stages, we decipher the six routes that will criss-cross Occitanie in July.
14th stage: Saint-Etienne – Mende, Saturday July 16 (192.5 kilometers)
The arrival of the Tour in Occitania! A hilly stage, promised to a fighter. On the program, that day, 5 climbs referenced in the mountain classification, 3rd and 2nd categories. Passages by the Loire and the Haute-Loire, then the arrival in Occitania by Lozère. To climb in particular, the Côte de la Croix Neuve “Montée Jalabert” (2nd category). We could also see, on this ground, a fight between favorites.
15th stage: Rodez-Carcassonne, Sunday July 17 (202.5 kilometers)
A little respite for the runners after an arrival in Mende the day before which will surely break the legs for some. If this 15th stage will be hilly, landscape Tarnais obliges, the arrival seems promised to a sprinter, Mark Cavendish had also won last year in Carcassonne.
Watch out all the same for breakaways, although the rough roads on the outskirts of Carcassonne which are favorable to them have this year been bypassed in the course. The peloton will enjoy a rest day at the foot of the city of Carcassonne the next day.
16th stage: Carcassonne – Foix, Tuesday July 19 (178.5 kilometers)
Ariège is dear to Christian Prudhomme, he and the organizers have in any case organized a very good stage there for the second in Occitania. Starting from Carcassone, the race will be flat for the first 100 kilometers. But past Tarascon sur Ariège, the riders will face the Port de Lers pass and the Péguère wall.
The long descent of 20 kilometers leading to the finish in Foix could also be the scene of a beautiful outcome. Warren Barguil had won in a similar stage in 2017. So advice to adventurers and outsiders, this stage may be your last chance to win before two monstrous Pyrenean stages.
17th stage: Saint-Gaudens – Peyragudes, Wednesday July 20 (129.7 kilometers)
Barely 130 kilometers, but 40 kilometers of climbing in the last 67… This is what awaits the riders for this 17th and penultimate mountain stage. From the very classic route level, passages through the towns of Saint Bertrand du Comminges, Sarrancolin and Saint-Lary and the crossing of the Cols d’Aspin, the Hourquette d’Ancizan and the Col du Val Louron-Azet.
The arrival at Peyragudes altiport will be the third since 2012. Hopes are low for most riders, the leaders’ teams will surely impose a big pace on the first three climbs to let them explain themselves in the last difficulty. Beware, however, of this climb to Peyragudes and its 8 kilometers at 7.8% average, which had seen the best climbers falter against Romain Bardet, victorious here in 2017.
18th stage: Lourdes – Hautacam, Thursday July 21 (143.2 kilometers)
Same format as the day before: short but intense. The 18th stage will certainly be the last opportunity for the leaders to grab the yellow jersey and strike a blow. The last winner at Hautacam was Vincenzo Nibali in 2014, winner of the Tour this year, perhaps that says a lot about the importance of this finish.
Three difficulties on the program for the last Pyrenean stage. First the Col d’Aubisque, 1700 meters high out of category, the Col de Spandelles, unprecedented on the Tour, and the climb to Hautacam, thirteen kilometers long.
19th stage: Castelnau-Magnoac – Cahors, Friday July 22 (188.3 kilometers)
The peloton will cross four departments for the penultimate stage of the Tour 2022. A nod to the opening sequence of the Tour de France, the riders will pass very close to the Château de Cayx, property of the Queen of Denmark.
Moreover, an original arrival in Cahors, because it will be the second in the history of the Tour. Breakaways will surely try their luck in this last “normal” stage before a time trial and the Champs Elysées. But the dead calm of this 19th stage will undoubtedly be conducive to a stage victory for a sprinter in Cahors.
20th stage: Lacapelle-Marival – Rocamadour, Saturday July 23 (40 kilometers)
The particularity of this last Occitane stage will be the unusual length of its time trial: 40 kilometers. On such a long solitary stage at the end of the third week, it was difficult for the riders to find the freshness and lucidity necessary for a time trial. So beware of surprises in the event of a tight general classification, a few seconds could be lost or gained in the bristling final to reach Rocamadour.