It’s been quite the start to the Tour de France, hasn’t it? We’ve been treated to the joyous, electric atmosphere of the Danish Grand Départ, scintillating sprint showdowns and tales of redemption, the one-man Wout show, and yesterday’s chaos, carnage and crashes on the cobbles of Northern France.
The 2022 Tour de France has, as ever, kept us glued to our screens since Jérémy Lecroq rolled down the start ramp in Copenhagen on Friday.
The annual lap around France may sometimes seem like a hexagon-shaped blackhole, sucking attention away from all of cycling’s other showpiece races, but there’s a good reason for that.
It’s the pinnacle of the sport, the race that captures the imagination like no other, and the one that keeps us glued to our TV screens as the so-called giants of the road battle over stunning Alpine passes, across bone-juddering cobblestones, on exposed, windy roads, and in frenetic, nerve-jangling sprint finishes. And all set to the backdrop of one of the most beautiful places on the planet.
Image: Pauline Ballet, ASO
The 2022 edition has certainly lived up to its reputation so far. The jubilant first three days in Denmark – where it seemed as if every Dane had flocked to the side of the road to roar the peloton on – saw a surprise time trial win for Yves Lampaert, while Fabio Jakobsen and Dylan Groenewegen both drew a line under their fractured shared history, taking – fittingly – back-to-back sprints less than two years after that horrific crash in Poland.
Back in France, Wout van Aert put on a demonstration of sheer power and class on the way to Calais, and yesterday’s dreaded but thrilling trek over the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix underlined Tadej Pogačar’s status as race favourite, while potentially scuppering the GC chances of his biggest rival and compatriot Primož Roglič. (Spoiler alert – today’s stage six to Longwy has already been pretty tasty too). With stages in the Alps, Vosges, Pyrenees and Massif Central mountain ranges on the horizon, there’s plenty of action still to come over the next two and a half weeks.
Image: Charly Lopez, ASO
And don’t forget – this year, for the first time, we can all look forward to an extra exciting week of racing, as the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift makes its long-awaited debut, in what will hopefully be a pivotal moment for women’s cycling.
So, if you’re looking to sit back and relax on the sofa as the action unfolds, GCN+ is – as ever – the best place to soak in all the sights and sounds of La Grande Boucle. GCN+ will have every kilometre of the world’s biggest bike race live and ad-free, so you won't miss a single attack, echelon, intermediate sprint or mechanical mishap.
And if you didn’t manage to secure a whole month of annual leave for July (what were you thinking?), you can still make use of the full stage replays, on-demand highlights and in-depth pre- and post-stage analysis on GCN+ to make the most of your subscription and avoid missing a second.
If you’re already camping out on Dutch Corner or Beefeater Bend, you can also keep up to speed with the peloton by streaming the stage to your phone. Fancy actually going out for an actual cycle when a stage is on? No problem, you can pause and pick up where you left off, or catch up in full later.
If the Tour is enough to scratch your bike racing itch, the subscription service also conveniently allows you to sign-up per month. However, if you find you’ve been hooked by the Hautacam, there is more than enough extra good stuff to persuade you to extend to a year-long subscription for just £39.99, just in time for the Vuelta a España, world championship, autumn classics and beyond.
And you won’t even have to wait that long for your next grand tour fix. Once the final yellow jersey is awarded on the Champs-Élysées in three weeks’ time, the inaugural Tour de France Femmes will pick up the baton for what looks set to be an explosive eight days of racing. The varied route will take the riders across north-eastern France before a spectacular final weekend in the Vosges, coming to a crescendo on the 20 percent slopes of the Planche des Belles Filles.
Women’s Tour and Paris-Roubaix winner Elisa Longo Borghini will be hoping her sparkling 2022 form continues on the roads of France, while Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, Demi Vollering, Kasia Niewiadoma and Ashleigh Moolman will be among those fighting for yellow.
Three-time world champion and two-time Giro Rosa winner Annemiek van Vleuten, however, surely goes into the race as the hot favourite, and will look to put her rivals to the sword in the mountains.
Super-fast Lorena Wiebes will look to pick off a few bunch sprints on the way, while Marianne Vos – arguably the greatest cyclist of all time – rides her first ever Tour de France. Even if the likes of Van Vleuten prove too strong in the mountains, the Jumbo-Visma rider will surely prove a force to be reckoned with throughout the race.
Four weeks of world-class racing await over the next month on GCN+… and if all that live race coverage, on-demand stage replays, time-saving highlights packages, and pre and post-race analysis by some of the best pundits in the sport (with some questionable dance routines thrown in for good measure) weren't enough, GCN+ also has a library of over 100 exclusive cycling documentaries available on demand, making it the one-stop subscription service for cycling fans.