WorldTeam Ewan, Gilbert and Kron preview the 109th Tour de France

This year, the Grand Départ of the 109th Tour de France takes place in Denmark.
Race 30 June 2022

This year, the Grand Départ of the 109th Tour de France takes place in Denmark, where on Friday 1 July the second Grand Tour of the season will kick off with a 13 kilometres long time trial in Copenhagen. Afterwards, two possible sprint chances await, but in the predominantly flat Danish landscape, the risk of echelons is always lurking around the corner. Some of the Lotto Soudal riders preview ‘La Grande Boucle’.

At Lotto Soudal, Caleb Ewan will be the man for the fast finishes. The quick Australian will be at the start of his 4th Tour and is keen on stage success after he had to abandon early last year following a crash in stage three. “Of course, I want to deliver top performances in this Tour, even more so because I couldn’t defend my chances last year. This year, I am again present and I have marked some five to six sprint chances. And maybe there will be some more opportunities, depending on how well I am climbing. In general, this Tour doesn’t really favour the sprinters, that is why we need to grab every opportunity with both hands.”

For the 24-year-old Andreas Kron, his first participation at the Tour will immediately be one to never forget as the Grand Départ takes place in his homeland Denmark. A Covid infection held him briefly off the bike but Kron eventually starts the Tour with confidence. “After the Tour de Suisse I tested positive for Covid but luckily without any symptoms. That is why my preparation was not really hindered, I only couldn’t start in the national championships. After some good training rides, I am ready for my first Tour de France. The focus in the first week will be on helping Caleb Ewan. In the second week, there are some nice opportunities for myself but also for Philippe Gilbert or Tim Wellens.”

After the time trial on Friday, two sprint chances are on the menu before the riders head to France on Monday.

“In theory, the first two road stages will end in a bunch sprint but we need to be attentive for the wind”, says Caleb Ewan. “The Great Belt bridge at the end of stage two will definitely increase the stress levels in the peloton. At the moment, there aren’t any crosswinds predicted but if that would be the case, it is going to be nervous and as always a big fight for the first positions. It’s already clear that stage two and stage three won’t be straightforward sprints. I am at the start without my usual lead-out but I am confident that it will work out with these guys as well. It’s a bunch of strong guys who can protect me in the final and guide me towards the sprint in a good position.”

For Philippe Gilbert, who celebrates his 40th birthday during the Tour, it will be his twelfth and final participation.

“I am really happy to be here in Denmark, at the start of my final Tour. But I am here with the necessary ambitions, I want to show myself one last time at the Tour. A Grand Départ outside of France is always special, I have fond memories of the start in for example Liège or Düsseldorf. Copenhagen really is a big cycling city, so the ideal place for a Grand Départ. I’ve worked hard to be ready for this Tour and I can’t wait to get started.”

Images: Photo News.

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