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The annual Tour de France presentation is about as close as cycling ever gets to an Oscar’s-styled red carpet.
Set in the Palais des Congrès in Paris’s tony 17th arrondissement, the autumn gala draws cycling’s version of two-wheeled “glitterati,” from the reigning stars of the peloton to big-wattage names of the past.
Team directors and managers, journalists, VIPs, politicians and other industry types pack into the large hall, and wait in anticipation for the lights to dim.
After being forced to do a virtual edition under COVID-19 restrictions last year, Tour officials confirmed to VeloNews that Thursday’s event will be open to the public, with an expected 3,700 people to attend Thursday’s ceremony.
This year’s event will have even more suspense as details of not only the men’s route but the newly minted Tour de France Femmes will both be revealed in a ceremony packed with pomp and circumstance beginning at around 11h30 CET.
Here’s what to expect:
The event will be broadcast live online
If you cannot jet-set off to Paris to watch the gala in person — sorry, invitations required — it is now possible to watch the event online.
The lights dim, and Tour director Christian Prudhomme and ASO CEO Jean-Etienne Amaury, the son of company founder Philippe Amaury, take the stage. The multi-media presentation is quite the production, and well worth it for any bike racing fan.
The event is scheduled to start at 11h30 CET, and could run nearly two hours.
Depending on where you log on (hello, VPN users!), there are several possibilities to watch the event.
Here are a few options:
Tour de France Club
Tour officials are live-streaming the presentation via its Tour de France Club.
People using the Tour’s platform will also be allowed to ask questions via a Q&A session, participate in a give-away of a new Colnago bike as well as have early sign-in for the first 100 places in the 2022 L’Etape du Tour de France.
Check VeloNews.com and our social media channels throughout the day for updates, route details, maps, photos, expert analysis and commentary.
The online broadcaster will also have a live feed for its viewers in select countries in Europe and the Asia Pacific. Check GCN+ for details.
Flo Bikes is also hosting a live feed for select North American viewers. Check its website for details.
Buzz ahead of route for Tour de France Femmes
This year’s event will have even more heft as the route details will be confirmed for the inaugural edition of the Tour de France Femmes.
The event will be a milestone in women’s cycling, and many expect the stage race to soon become as important within the women’s peloton as it is to the men’s.
The dates are already known: it will run July 24-31, one week after the men’s event and will replace the one-day La Course.
Last week, ASO officials confirmed that ex-pro and TV presenter Marion Rousse as race director for the women’s edition.
What we know of the 2022 Tour de France
There’s always plenty of rumor-mongering about the Tour route ahead of the official presentation.
What’s confirmed is the race starts July 1, with three stages in Denmark, and concludes July 24 in Paris. Denmark, which was forced to scrub its “grand départ” in 2021 due to COVID-19, will become the 1oth nation to host a Tour de France start.
The 109th edition starts off with a 13 km individual time trial, giving the strong time trialists a chance for yellow as well as the GC favorites to see some splits.
Stage 2 runs from Roskilde to Nyborg, featuring three Cat. 4 climbs midway through the stage, which could deliver breakaways with winds and narrow roads. Stage 3 runs from Vejle to Sønderborg, again with a threat of winds and narrow roads ahead of a bunch sprint.
From there, the Tour caravan packs up and heads into northern France (or perhaps somewhere in Benelux) to begin again.
The gaps between there and the final stage in Paris on the Champs-Élysées will be filled out Thursday.
Rumors about the 2022 Tour de France
There are plenty of rumors about what fills out the rest of the map.
The website velowire.com does plenty of route-sleuthing, and many journalists and bike tour companies actually pre-book their Tour hotels ahead of time based off its guesses.
Many track headlines in local papers as mayors and other government officials often confirm the arrival of the Tour to their respective hometowns or regions, always a big deal for any French politician.
Also read: Could this be the 2022 Tour de France route?
The big highlight for 2022 is that many expect a return to Alpe d’Huez for 2022. The last time the famed switchbacks were featured was in 2018 with Geraint Thomas winning the stage, so a return appearance is overdue.
With the start in Denmark and a transfer into northern France, it’s expected that once again the Alps will come first, with the Pyrénées coming into the final week in the big loop around France.
Others hint of a possible stage with sectors of cobbles, a return to the Vosges, as well as a longer time trial at the end of the race.