Today’s stage: Lacapelle-Marival – Rocamadour (40.7 kilometers, time trial)
As much as Yves Lampaert was able to create a surprise during the inaugural time trial made uncertain by the short distance, the rain and the bends in the streets of Copenhagen, as much as these 40.7 kilometers of plain through the Lot, which pass in large part in the Causses du Quercy regional natural park, are cut out for the greatest specialists in the exercise of the « chrono ». In the final, the riders will have to climb two climbs – the Côte de Magès (1.6 km, at 4.7%) and the Côte de l’Hospitalet (1.5 km, at 7.8%) – to reach the Rocamadour cliff.
And the fight for the yellow jersey? No one has forgotten the outcome of the 2020 edition of the Tour de France and Tadej Pogacar’s takeover during the time trial on the Belles-Filles board. But this year, the 3 minutes and 26 seconds which separate Jonas Vingegaard from his Slovenian runner-up in the general classification represent a gap far too difficult to bridge during the time trial preceding the arrival at the Champs-Elysées.
Filippo Gana (Ineos-Grenadiers) will he get the stage victory he has been waiting for three weeks? During the first stage, the Italian approached the « time trial » in the streets of Copenhagen with the ambition of donning the first yellow jersey of the Tour, but his day ended with a disappointing 4e up and a few scares in soggy corners. Since then, the rider has been counting the days until the Rocamadour time trial. This time, the course and the duration of the exercise stick much more to the capacities of the double world champion in title of the discipline (2020 and 2021). The inexhaustible Belgian Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) appears to be his main competitor.
If a class council met at the end of the Tour de France, Stefan Kung (Groupama-FDJ) could already claim a good effort mark for his often invisible work in the service of David Gaudu (4e of the general classification). Will he get a less symbolic reward at the end of this 20e stage ? In any case, he likes the exercise of the time trial, a discipline of which he is double European champion. Only 14e of the Copenhagen « time trial », the 28-year-old runner demonstrated his versatility by finishing 4e of the 13e stage linking Bourg-d’Oisans to Saint-Etienne. He has a great opportunity this Saturday to open his counter of victories in 2022.
» I think he can win the Tour one day, yes. IIt is very “indurainesque” »
If there is anyone who knows almost all of the possible room for improvement, it is Lance Armstrong. However the American, seven times winner of the Tour de France, before being stripped of his victories for doping, considers that Wout van Aert has the means to win the Grande Boucle. This is what he said after the arrival of the stage in Hautacam, Thursday July 21, in the podcast program « The Move », which he hosts with his former teammate George Hincapie.
Lance Armstrong says he asked Johan Bruyneel, his former sporting director, how much Wout van Aert weighs: “Johan told me 76 or 77 kg”he explained while recalling that, for his part, he weighed “74 kg at the start of the Tour, then I fell to 72.5, which was already quite heavy for a general rider”. Lance Armstrong then compared the Belgian from Jumbo-Visma to Miguel Indurain, five times winner of the Tour between 1991 and 1995: « He’s not as explosive as Pogacar or Vingegaard, but he’s strong in the time trial and has the ability to ride at a steady pace up the hills, just like Indurain », he said, while noting that Johan Bruyneel disagrees with him on Wout van Aert’s chances. But George Hincapie is also convinced of this: “Van Aert has the recovery capabilities of a grand tour rider. »
Detour of the Tour
“The houses on the river, the churches on the houses, the rocks on the churches, and the castle on the rock. » This is how the locals present Rocamadour (Lot), arrival of the penultimate stage of the Grande Boucle.
A place of pilgrimage for almost a millennium, the small medieval town offers a unique setting, with its steep cliff and its only street (La Couronnerie). While it has only 623 inhabitants, it is visited each year by approximately 1.5 million tourists.
On the occasion of the passage of the Tour, it is possible to buy tickets at the castle to have a breathtaking view of the route of the day’s stage from the belvedere. The money raised will be used to carry out the renovation work on the site, explains the France 3 Occitanie site.
In the retro
The 1968 Tour is not especially passed down to posterity – a story of historical context, no doubt. Except in the Netherlands, where we keep the memory of the victory of Jan Janssen. The runner with the eternal glasses points to 3e place during the time trial between Melun and Paris. Sunday July 21, 1968, they are four to be held in the same minute. In order: Herman Van Springel, Gregorio San Miguel (at 12 seconds), Jan Janssen (at 16 seconds) and Franco Bitossi (at 58 seconds). Even the 7e, the Belgian Ferdinand Bracke, can dream of yellow and make up for his two-minute delay thanks to his rolling qualities. A density of potential winners never seen since during a last stage.
At the Cipale velodrome, in the Bois de Vincennes, Janssen scored twice: stage victory and general classification. Fallen yellow jersey, Herman Van Springel never accepted this defeat, putting it down to more efficient equipment at Janssen or the gaps he did not receive, unlike his rival. Like Jean Robic in 1947, the Dutchman won a Tour during which he was never in the yellow jersey.
The broom wagon
« How far from the finish line is the press room? »
– What time does it leave tomorrow? And the caravan?
– Where is the PPO? [point de passage obligatoire]
– Should we take the race route or the off course route? »
Whatever the question, we will get the same answer: “Wait, I’m looking in the roadbook. » In good French, it looks more like the « road book », where each of the 21 stages is detailed by the menu. The fact remains that regardless of the language chosen, said book is the bible of the Tour follower.
So of course, that will not have prevented the special envoys of the World to take the race route – on the wrong day – in Vejle in Denmark, nor to negotiate (for a long time) with CRS blocking the road in Rodez… But ultimately, we arrived (almost) without incident to Cahors. Two more days before we can shut it down for good.
Our selection of articles on the Tour de France 2022