The most influential rider in the 2022 race was that ultimate all-rounder Wout van Aert, the winner of Saturday’s time trial.  –The Guardian 24 July 2022

By Roger Childs

Three champions

The 109th Tour started in Denmark so it was highly appropriate that in Paris on Sunday a Dane should win the race. Jonas Vingegaard is a first time and popular champion. And it was delightful at the prize giving on the Champs Elysees that his little two year old daughter in her yellow jersey stole the show. The Dane’s great friend and rival Tadej Pogačar was second overall and Welshman Geraint Thomas, who won in 2017, took third. Vingegaard also picked up the King of the Mountains trophy. Thomas’s team – Ineos Grenadiers – won the team’s section.

Vingegaard’s team –mate Belgian Wout van Aert stamped his authority on the tour during the first few stages and was an early yellow jersey holder. However, his outstanding success was to easily win the win the green jersey as the best sprinter. He also picked up the award for being the most aggressive rider as he was often first up climbs and he made sure that his team leader was being looked after. Van Aert also won the final time-trial.

As well as being second, Pogačar won the best young riders competition and tried hard to take the yellow jersey off the Dane with many attacks.

Friends look after each other

Despite the rivalry, the big three are great mates and while they were fierce rivals on the roads they were always smiles and hugs after each stage. An example of the concern for each other was shown on a winding down-hill late in the Tour. First Vingegaard had a wobble at 70kph but managed to stay on his bike. Further down the road Pogačar was waiting for him. Then Pogačar came off while the Dane was ahead and suffered a large and very painful graze on his backside. The Slovene was quickly back on his bike and joined Vingegaard who was waiting down the valley. Good sportsmanship is always appreciated and admired.

The French handle things in style

Paris is an extraordinarily beautiful and distinctive city, and the final section of the Tour where the cyclists do several circuits of the Champs Elysees is a great spectacle for the fans. Winning this final leg is always over to the sprinters and this year Belgian Jasper Philipson darted through a gap about 100m out from the finish to comfortably take line honours.

The prize giving was carried out with the usual French flair with plenty of beautiful trophies, flowers and statuesque models.

The 2022 Tour was a great success with its fierce competition, exciting finishes, and a new champion, set against the varied and wonderful landscapes of La Belle France.