One of the most legendary races in all of the sports, the 2022 Tour de France is an excellent showcase of the world’s most elite bicycle riders. Kicking off this weekend and extending all the way through July, the 2022 edition of the race features some excellent riders. Leading the way from this year’s field is favorite Tadej Pogačar of Slovenia who is coming off back-to-back Tour de France victories in 2020 and 2021. Another cyclist to watch is Jonas Vingegaard of Denmark who is coming off a win at the 2022 La Drôme Classic. One other athlete to keep an eye on is 32-year-old Primož Roglič who is a former world No. 1 ranked cyclist in the UCI men’s road racing rankings.
In this breakdown, SBS will go over what each athlete brings to the table during this year’s edition of the Tour and who will be the next champion.
Pogačar is the definite favorite to win this year’s edition of the Tour and for good reason. In addition to his two Tour de France victories, the 23-year-old has found success in almost every race he has entered. In regards to the Tour, he is the first Slovenian winner of the competition and at only 21 years of age, is the second-youngest champion in the history of the legendary competition. Last year, he made even more history when he became the first Tour de France champion to also take home an Olympic medal (bronze) in a road race event.
In addition to his Tour de France accolades, Pogačar is also the first road cyclist in history ro break the 6,000-point barrier in the UCI World Rankings. The current No. 1 ranked cyclist in the UCI road racing rankings, he finished 2021 as the top road cyclist in the world. A consistently high performer during the Tour, he has won multiple jerseys during the last two Tour de Frances he has participated in.
In 2021, Vingegaard finished in second place in his debut Tour de France and will be looking for more in this year’s edition. In addition to his win at the La Drôme Classic, the Danish cyclist has notched solid performances this year the Critérium du Dauphiné (second place overall) and also the Tirreno–Adriatico (second place again). An all-around rider, the 25-year-old has been known for his strong multiple-stage riding performances like he has had during the Tour of the Basque Country competition (second overall in 2021). While he has shown he can consistently place in the top three, he will need a little extra in France to notch the Tour title.
The last rider on our list, Roglič is the savvy veteran of the group and boasts an impressive resume. Another Slovenian, the 32-year-old was the first person ever from Slovenia to win a Tour de France stage which he accomplished back in 2017. Though he has never won a Tour de France, he did notch a second-place finish in 2020 which is his career-best at the event. While he did not finish the race last year, he did lock down an Olympic gold medal at the time trial racing event at the Tokyo Games. As far as this year goes, he has two wins so far this year, one at the Paris-Nice cycling stage race and another at the Critérium du Dauphiné.
Prediction: One of the most grueling competitions, the Tour de France will test the limits of the human body. With that in mind, a rider like Pogačar who knows what it takes to win is a sure bet to again achieve this amazing feat.
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