The Slovenian Tadej Pogačar is the top favorite again this time.
Photo: STEPHANE MAHE / REUTERS
It took 108 years for the Tour de France to reach Denmark.
In Copenhagen, the Tour of France will open this Friday afternoon (4 p.m. / ARD / Eurosport) with an individual time trial.
From next week it will continue in France.
Then the Vosges, Alps and Pyrenees await the peloton in the tried and tested way.
184 drivers hope to turn onto the Champs Élysées in Paris on July 24th with as little damage as possible and a good placement.
The most important questions and answers at the start of the tour:
What is special about this tour?
Certainly the start in Denmark.
The Scandinavians are the tenth country in the series of those organizing the start of the tour outside of France.
It is the farthest start of the tour from France so far.
Tour boss Christian Prudhomme has made Copenhagen the “most bicycle-friendly city in the world” in advance. In fact, enthusiasm for the tour has been high in Denmark for years, the ratings there are sometimes 60 percent and thus significantly higher than, for example, in France itself. Three days the entourage stays in Denmark.
On Monday, the first day of rest, they then cross over to France.
Which stages should not be missed?
Stage 2 on Saturday will not only offer spectacular pictures as the riders cross the Great Belt Bridge.
With the incoming wind it also becomes the first challenge.
On Wednesday next week, the cobblestone pavés will be waiting in the north of France.
With the first mountain finish next Friday in the Vosges, the classification will probably be shaken up for good.
In the second week it's off to the Alps, the mountain finish in L'Alpe d'Huez on the French National Day is certainly one of the highlights.
The day before, the mythical Col de Telegraphe and Col de Galibier are crossed.
The last week sent the peloton to the Pyrenees, where the stage from Lourdes to Hautacam once again shaped the classification.
Nevertheless, it is possible that the 2022 tour will only be decided on the penultimate day in a time trial over 41 kilometers.
Who are the favourites?
Actually there is only one: Tadej Pogačar, the Slovenian from Team UAE, has already won the last two France loops and barring a crash or Corona, there is little doubt that he will triumph again.
This year he has competed in three tours and won all three.
Ex-champion Alberto Contador calls him a "child prodigy", others speak of "Pogacarmstrong".
There is also doubt as to whether all his achievements are right.
His compatriot Primož Roglič, who has the strongest helpers in the peloton with his team Jumbo-Visma and Tour runner-up Jonas Vingegaard, definitely wants to challenge him.
The British Adam Yates and the Colombian Miguel Angel Lopez think they have outsider chances.
But really, they're just racing for places on the podium behind Pogačar.
The German team Bora-hansgrohe is placing its hopes on the Russian Alexander Wlasow.
A digital press conference before the start of the tour made it clear that this has its sporting justification and still has a taste due to the Ukraine war - when Bora simply did not forward a journalist's question to Vlasov about his attitude to the war.
What are the Germans doing?
Germany is represented with nine riders at this year's tour, it hasn't been that few for a long time.
Maximilian Schachmann had to worry about participation until the end because of a corona infection. Like the German champions Nils Politt (road) and Lennard Kämna (time trial), he is hoping for a big day, i.e. a stage success.
All three can be trusted.
Veteran John Degenkolb flirting with the stage over the cobblestone elements, that's his profession.
Is doping still an issue?
The murmurs about Pogačar's outstanding performances don't stop, but so far they are just that: murmurs.
On Thursday, investigators searched the homes of the Bahrain-Victorious team.
This happened at the request of French doping investigators for administrative assistance.
It is unclear whether anything was found during the raid.
The team was already searched on Monday.
There still seems to be something in the air.
Who is broadcasting on TV?
Unlike the swimming fans, who last looked down the drain at the World Championships and weren't served any live pictures, cycling fans can't complain.
First, ARD gave them the lavish Jan Ullrich documentary on the 25th anniversary of his tour victory in 1997, now public television is also getting on with the tour again.
Most of the stages will be broadcast extensively by niche channel One, and the decisive phases will also be broadcast live on ARD.
The sports channel Eurosport also offers extensive live broadcasts, as it has done for many years.
Will there be another women's Tour de France?
Finally again, I have to say.
Nothing happened for 14 years, in 2022 a new beginning will be dared - and this time one that can have perspective.
The "Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift", the somewhat awkward official name, starts on the day on which the men drive their final stage in Paris.
Then it goes for a week in eight stages through the north-east of France.
Paris is the starting point, the last and at the same time most difficult stage leads up to La Super Planche des Belles Filles in the Vosges, also one of the toughest tests in the men's tour.
Tour director Marion Rousse was once one of the best riders in the country herself, and later became known as a cycling expert on French television.
As tour boss, she has been able to win over some of the most prominent drivers in the world for the tour: Among others, the Dutch Marianne Vos, Lorena Wiebes and Annemiek van Vleuten are at the start, from a German point of view Lisa Brennauer has hopes.