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Tour de France

Peloton arrives in Copenhagen ahead of 2022 Tour de France

Every Tour starts with hope and promise, yet only a few achieve glory in Paris.

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COPEHAGEN (VN) — Buzz is building ahead of the start of the 2022 Tour de France and three days of racing across Denmark.

Most riders are already in the humming Danish capital, and more staffers and journalists poured into the historic center Tuesday a few days ahead of the 109th Tour.

Three stages in Denmark starting Friday mark the furthest the Tour has ever ventured away from France, and everyone is bracing for intense racing in front of massive crowds.

The Danes love their bike racing, and 10 Danish riders are expected to roll down the start ramp Friday for the 13km urban time trial course around Copenhagen.

Every Tour has its narrative and storyline. This Tour is about generational change, and an emerging dominator.

Tadej Pogačar has won two yellow jerseys on a trot, and looks poised to win a third if Jumbo-Visma cannot stop him in his tracks.

Once a rider wins three in a row, it’s hard to derail them, and if he makes it through the first week unscathed, Pogačar could be poised to join the “five-win” club.

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Of course, it’s a long way to Paris when the Tour ends July 24 on the Champs-Élysées.

Primož Roglič and Jonas Vingegaard are steeled for the challenge. Racing in front of home crowds this weekend, Vingegaard will be out to prove his breakout ride in 2021 was no fluke.

Hot off dominating the Critérium du Dauphiné, Roglič and Co. promise to keep things interesting.

Everyone expecting the Tour to be the “Pog and Rog Show” might be in for a surprise, however.

The ever-proud Ineos Grenadiers, rising power Bora-Hansgrohe, and a determined Team Movistar will try to elbow their way into the script.

But any Tour is more than just the race for the yellow jersey. Every stage counts for something. A stage win at the Tour can save a season, and make a career.

Sprinters will be keen to earn their stripes early, and the cobblestones lurk in the first week both as a hangman and a prize for the classics style riders.

Breakaways are seeing more freedom, so insiders are predicting a big fight for stage wins across the entire Tour. With teams down to eight riders, there are not as many legs in the bunch to keep a lid on things.

Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme is pictured during a visit of the pylons on The Great Belt Bridge, near Korsoer, in March. (Photo: MADS CLAUS RASMUSSEN/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images)

The risk of breakaways gaining too much rope, especially with the wrong type of rider in a move, is sure to keep the peloton tightly wound all the way into the Alps in the Tour’s second week.

Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel bring their high-voltage racing style to the Tour, and the two longtime rivals will be sparring for stage wins and the green jersey, even if Van der Poel vows not to challenge for the points.

Aging warriors like Geraint Thomas and Peter Sagan will try to remind everyone that experience counts, and four-time winner Chris Froome is still hanging around even if it appears the best years are behind him.

The Tour starts with a few riders surprisingly left on the sidelines, with Mark Cavendish, last year’s green jersey winner and conqueror of four stages, was overlooked in favor of Fabio Jakobsen. Julian Alaphilippe, Rohan Dennis, and Greg Van Avermaet were other big names left at home.

Larry Warbasse lost out on what he had hoped would be his Tour de France debut when he fell ill at the Tour de Suisse despite looking strong on the climbs. Ag2r-Citroën brings four French riders to keep the home sponsors happy, along with Ben O’Connor, an outsider for the podium.

Rising stars like O’Connor and Aleksandr Vlasov are out to prove they deserve leadership responsibilities.

The ghosts of Tour’s past seemed poised to haunt this edition.

Police searches of key riders and staffers at Bahrain-Victorious just days ahead of the Tour set a somber tone. Is there something nefarious going on inside the team? Police and anti-doping officials didn’t have much to say, and the team angrily protested the heavy handed tactics.

Could there be more controversy before this Tour is out? Anyone who thinks the Tours of the past, with an endless string of doping scandals and police raids, are in the rear-view could be in for a shock.

Like any Tour, this year’s starts with a peloton full of promise.

Teams have selected their eight strongest riders, and each outfit starts with their own unique ambitions. Some are here to win the yellow jersey, others to chase glory with a stage win.

Dreams quickly turn into nightmares under the pressure-cooker of the Tour. A crash or an illness can bury months of hard work and preparation in an instant. The pre-Tour favorites list inevitably becomes shorter by the stage.

The specter of COVID-19 still hangs over the Tour, and teams are keeping a close watch on riders’ health. Safety protocols remain in place, and a string of high-profile COVID infections over the past month confirms that no one is immune.

The Tour remains cycling’s biggest show.

For three weeks, the race will make headlines around the globe. Everyone is hoping this year the focus remains on racing. Producers of the highly anticipated Netflix documentary series are hoping to bring that into the home of fans around the world.

Cycling could see a boon thanks to the high-profile Netflix documentary, or it could backfire horrendously if things go off the rails if French police start raiding hotels like it’s 1998 all over again.

Right now in Copenhagen, there’s nothing but open road ahead.

All eyes will be on the skies.

Forecasters are calling for a chance of showers for Friday’s opening time trial. Drama is assured. The Tour never disappoints.