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Cyclist’s 2022 Tour de France predictions: Maillot jaune, biggest surprise and more

The Cyclist team have their say on who will win the jerseys at the Tour de France, as well as the biggest surprises and most stage wins

Robyn Davidson
29 Jun 2022

We’ve barely recovered from a week of national championships and the impending monolith of the Tour de France is upon us.

The next Grand Tour of the year after the Giro d’Italia should bring three weeks of drama and excitement to our TV screens as the peloton rolls out from the Grand Départ in Copenhagen towards a glitzy finale on the Champs-Élysées.

Stars such as Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) and Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) will undoubtably be fighting for the top spot on the podium. But only one can prevail.

Much like bragging rights in the Cyclist office after Roby- I mean, someone, accurately predicts the Tour de France.

Let’s get into it…

Pete Muir, Editor

A.S.O./Alex Broadway

Yellow jersey (general classification): Primož Roglič, Jumbo-Visma

Roglic has to – just has to – win at least one Tour de France during his career, and this year looks like his best chance. He’s got the form, he’s got the team, he’s got the parcours. All he needs now is the luck.

Polka dot jersey (King of the Mountains): Guillaume Martin, Cofidis

With no real chance of competing for the GC (look what happened to him at the Giro), the Frenchman’s attacking, never-say-die approach could see him target breaks and go hunting for mountain points.

Green jersey (points classification): Wout van Aert, Jumbo-Visma

If you rule out the pure sprinters like Fabio Jakobsen and Caleb Ewan, who are you left with? In the field of fast-men-who-can-also-climb, Van Aert has no peers.

White jersey (best young rider): Tadej Pogačar, UAE Team Emirates 

He’s still only 23. I had to double-check that, because it already feels like he’s been around forever, but it’s true – 23! He could still be winning the Tour when Alejandro Valverde is picking up his pension.

Most stage wins: Fabio Jakobsen, QuickStep Alpha Vinyl

The best sprinter with the best sprint team. He’ll win back-to-back stages in Denmark and then the final sprint on the Champs-Élysées to take three stages overall.

Team with the most stage wins: QuickStep Alpha Vinyl

Jakobsen's three, plus one for Kasper Asgreen and one for Tim Declercq on the cobbled stage.

First maillot jaune: Filippo Ganna, Ineos Grenadiers

At 13km, the Stage 1 time-trial is just long enough for the Italian to demonstrate his superiority.

Biggest surprise: Movistar

Movistar somehow win the team classification again, despite being all but invisible for the entire race.

Stage looking forward to the most: Stage 12

The return to Alpe d’Huez will be carnage – hopefully in a joyous, celebratory way. Not actual carnage.

Robyn Davidson, Editorial Assistant

Jean Catuffe via Getty Images

Yellow jersey (general classification): Tadej Pogačar, UAE Team Emirates

Sometimes at night, in the depths of my peaceful slumber, I am awoken with an almighty fright. That was an unintentional rhyme, but the mere concept of Pogačar is enough for anyone to break out into a sweat.

Especially if you’re his rivals after you already witnessed him win Tirreno-Adriatico and Strade Bianche then dominate the Tour of Slovenia. 

Just don’t say his name three times in the mirror or he’ll appear and steal your KoM.

Polka dot jersey (King of the Mountains): Romain Bardet, Team DSM

On the subject of mountains, I hope the attacking force of Romain Bardet will shoot off in search of general classification time as the road gets steeper. He’ll probably just miss the podium, but he’ll have worked his way into the polka dots and given France something to celebrate after a lack of Julian Alaphilippe.

Green jersey (points classification): Wout van Aert

An obvious choice, I know. I’m sorry. No explanation needed here.

White jersey (best young rider): Tadej Pogačar, UAE Team Emirates

I am once again telling you how sick I am of cyclists the same age as me doing great things and achieving new heights in this sport. It is a direct attack.

Most stage wins: Fabio Jakobsen, QuickStep Alpha Vinyl

It’s been another long week of discourse online. The inclusion of Fabio Jakobsen means the exclusion of new national champion Mark Cavendish and boy have people been letting the team admin know their thoughts.

I hope Jakobsen is the rider with the most stage wins at the end of the Tour de France. Not to justify his participation, which he has already done, but simply for himself. He’s a sensational rider and one I very much enjoy from an obscured view with my hands over my eyes in sprint finishes.

Team with the most stage wins: Jumbo-Visma

If you look away from Fabio Jakobsen, a very strong contender for multiple stage wins is the dominating figure of Wout van Aert. From sprints to time-trials and even a double ascent of Ventoux last year, he can do it all.

On a cold rainy night in Stoke however? That’s yet to be proven…

First maillot jaune: Filippo Ganna, Ineos Grenadiers

Starting with a 13km TT? Unlucky for some. Not Top Ganna.

Biggest surprise: Always back the Conti teams

A Continental rider winning from the breakaway, probably on a sprint stage where the peloton let them have too much of a lead. That would be sensational.

Stage looking forward to the most: Stage 21, or whichever stage Thibaut Pinot wins

Am I writing Stage 21 because the Tour de France Femmes begins on the same day? ... Yes. But that doesn’t mean I’m not looking forward to the dazzling display of the Eiffel Tower and the impending, heart-racing countdown as the final kilometres rush by and the last sprint for the men is underway.

Could this be the year I witness a breakaway on the Champs-Élysées? Probably not. 

So I’ll also add in any stage that Thibaut Pinot is set to win. 

Will Strickson, Editorial Assistant

Dario Belingheri via Getty Images

Yellow jersey (general classification): Jonas Vingegaard, Jumbo-Visma

I played this dangerous game last year, but having proclaimed Tadej Pogačar as the only favourite for this race I feel a lot more comfortable suggesting he won’t win.

Jumbo-Visma have already proved the combination of Primož Roglič and Jonas Vingegaard can beat a lone Pogi at the 2021 Itzulia Basque Country, and if they stay upright they’ll do it again.

Pogačar, in this instance, will mark Roglič more heavily than Vingegaard and the Dane will sneak away on one stage for enough of a time gap to survive the bonus seconds he loses elsewhere.

And with the Grand Départ in Denmark, the script is already written.

Polka dot jersey (King of the Mountains): Tadej Pogačar, UAE Team Emirates

Don’t get me wrong, Pogačar may still be the strongest rider in the race and he’ll definitely win a few summit finishes, bagging him plenty of points on this year’s parcours to take the polka dots for a third time.

Green jersey (points classification): Wout van Aert, Jumbo-Visma

It’s a dream scenario for everyone at Jumbo-Visma apart from maybe Roglič, who’ll now face off with Pogačar in defence of his Vuelta title. Wout van Aert is going for green this year and with barely any proper sprint stages he’s by far the best placed rider to bag points most days. Michael Matthews has no chance.

White jersey (best young rider): Jonas Vingegaard, Jumbo-Visma

He’s no finished, he’s only 25.

Most stage wins: Wout van Aert, Jumbo-Visma

Flat sprint, time-trial, hilly stage, medium mountain, high mountain. That’s five.

Team with most stage wins: Jumbo-Visma

I tried to do the maths to give this to someone else but with my earlier predictions there’s no chance.

First maillot jaune: Mads Pedersen, Trek-Segafredo

Mads Pedersen has wanted this yellow jersey since it was announced. His time in the rainbow bands was cruelly cut short thanks to the pandemic, but he’ll be wearing yellow as he rides through his hometown in the greatest race of them all. He deserves it.

He’s also a sneakily good TTer, having just finished fourth in the 40km Danish nationals, and prologues suit his style better. Ganna is the favourite but Mads wants it more.

Biggest surprise: QuickStep win zero stages

BAM. Patrick Lefevere used all his karma cards on Cav last year and unfortunately that means a drought, especially given the actions of his team at the Baloise Belgium Tour. I just hope they all apologise to Fabio Jakobsen for making this happen.

There are only a few opportunities for the world’s best sprinter to get a win and sadly it won’t happen this time out.

Stage looking forward to the most: Stage 12

Galibier and Télégraphe backwards, Croix de Fer and the return of Alpe d’Huez to finish. On Bastille Day. Allons enfants de la patrie, regardez la chèvre Thibaut Pinot.

That’s right, Tibopino himself will take the greatest stage win of his career and cement himself as a true great of the Tour as crowds return to all 21 bends to cheer and tear as Pinot solos to victory.

Martin James, Production Editor

A.S.O./Alex Broadway

Yellow jersey (general classification): Tadej Pogačar, UAE Team Emirates

We can talk all we like about Primož Roglič being too good not to win a Tour in his career, but in countryman Pogačar he’s up against someone who now seems too good not to win pretty much any race he starts.

Polka dot jersey (King of the Mountains): Jonas Vingegaard, Jumbo-Visma

At his best he’s one of very few riders who can drop Pogačar in the high mountains, though his ambitions may be curtailed if he has to ride for Jumbo-Visma teammate Roglič.

Green jersey (points classification): Fabio Jakobsen, QuickStep Alpha Vinyl

QuickStep Alpha Vinyl will go all in for the Dutch fast man in the opening week, and even if outright stage wins evade him (and they won’t), he’ll build up enough of a lead in the standings to keep the jersey all the way to Paris.

White jersey (Best Young Rider): Tadej Pogačar, UAE Team Emirates

Although there’s every chance we might never actually see him wear it. He prefers yellow, apparently…

Most stage wins: Fabio Jakobsen, QuickStep Alpha Vinyl

There will be huge pressure on Jakobsen’s shoulders as QuickStep’s anointed sprint hope at the Tour, but he proved at last year’s Vuelta that he now thrives in the spotlight. Three wins in the opening week should do the trick.

Team with most stage wins: Jumbo-Visma

Jakobsen may be primed to win multiple stages for QuickStep Alpha Vinyl, but Jumbo-Visma have multiple riders more than capable of stage victories, and on a wider range of terrains. Whether that translates to actual wins remains to be seen – much will depend on the state of the team’s GC ambitions as the race progresses.

First maillot jaune: Tadej Pogačar, UAE Team Emirates

Even at his relatively tender age, Pog is no stranger to the occasional patron-like show of strength, and there’s no bigger flex for any self-respecting Grand Tour favourite than dominating the opening TT to put precious seconds into your rivals from the very first turn of the pedals.

Alternatively, Filippo Ganna will win easily.

Biggest surprise: A breakaway win on the Champs-Élysées

It has been 17 years since Alexandre Vinokourov defied the odds to hold the charging hordes at bay on the final stage in the French capital. It’s about time it happened again.

Stage looking forward to most: Stage 11

A stage that mixes the spectacular (the Lacets du Montvernier), the epic (the Telegraphe/Galibier double-punch done the right way round) and the historic (a first return to one of the key battlegrounds of the 1986 Tour, the Col du Granon). All in 149km. Sold.

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