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Tour de France

Kristoff & Meintjes to shine in Le Tour de France

Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux presents a team balanced between stage chasers and a focus on the general classification for the 109th edition of the Tour de France, which will start from Copenhagen (Denmark) this Friday. The eight riders will be led by former European champion, four times stage winner and yellow jersey wearer Alexander Kristoff, who will receive the support of experimented riders Andrea Pasqualon and Adrien Petit for the sprint finishes. Baroudeurs Sven Erik Bystrøm, Taco van der Hoorn and Georg Zimmermann will keep an eye out for successful breakaways between the mountains, where Louis Meintjes will chase a top ten in the final classification with the support of Belgian rider Kobe Goossens. This selection will be directed from the Grand Départ by Aike Visbeek, Steven De Neef, Hilaire Van der Schueren and Pieter Vanspeybrouck.

Alexander Kristoff
returns to Denmark, where he became European champion in 2017, to start his ninth Tour de France. The Norwegian rider is a four time stage winner, all of them were won in a sprint. In his latest participation in 2020, his victory in the opening stage in Nice offered him the honor to wear the yellow jersey. In 2018, he was victorious on the Champs-Elysées. In total, Alexander Kristoff finished more than 30 times in the top five.

For the sprint finishes, the Norwegian rider can rely on his two teammates of the sprint train, Andrea Pasqualon and Adrien Petit, who both participated three times in the Tour de France. Italian rider Andrea Pasqualon finished eight times in the top ten in the colors of the Walloon team. Frenchman Petit, the sixth of Paris-Roubaix and third of the GP de Denain, will race close to his city Arras in the fifth stage between Lille and Arenberg, in which the first cobble section of Villers-au-Tertre is named after him.

South-African rider Louis Meintjes reached Paris three times, twice in eight place (2016, 2017) and in fourteenth place last year in the colors of the Belgian team. This Friday, he will race for the first time on Danish soil since he is a professional and after a fruitful month with in addition to his victory in the Giro dell’Appennino, a sixth place in the Critérium du Dauphiné and the Mercan’Tour Classic.

Kobe Goossens and Taco van der Hoorn will make their debut in La Grande Boucle. For both, it is their second Grand Tour. Last season, van der Hoorn showed himself in the breakaways in the Giro d’Italia, resulting in a resounding victory in Canale, with Kobe Goossens revealing himself on the roads of the Vuelta 2020 with a 24th place in the final classification.

Sven Erik Bystrøm and Georg Zimmermann both participated once to the Tour de France. The 24 year old German rider discovered the race last season with the Belgian team and despite a wrest injury following a crash on day one, he achieved a top ten two days before Paris and took his first pro win in the Tour de l’Ain one week later.

« We chose for a balanced team with both riders aiming for a stage win and a good result in the final classification. We’re ambitious from the first week, with a group around Alexander Kristoff, who will receive the support of Andrea Pasqualon and Adrien Petit in the sprint or the stages in the north. With guys like Zimmermann, van der Hoorn and Bystrøm, we will stay loyal to our aggressive temperament because we know their baroudeur qualities and we know that there are multiple opportunities. Finally, in the high mountains, we can rely on Louis Meintjes who performed well in the beginning of the season and confirmed this with a sixth place in the Critérium du Dauphiné. He will receive the support of young Belgian rider Kobe Goossens, who will discover the Tour de France. » « It is already our fifth Tour de France, so I’m looking forward to experience the Grand Départ in Copenhagen. We savored the succes on the roads of the Giro and the Vuelta, so our team Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert lines up with great ambition in this Tour de France. A stage victory is our main goal and we have candidates on all terrains. Next, we’ll try to finish for the first time in the top ten of the Tour by tackling the mountains well. »

From Friday 1st to Sunday 24th of July, the 109th edition of the biggest cycling event in the world will cross four countries. The 21 stages of the Tour de France 2022 are divided as follows: two time trials, six flat stages, seven hilly stages and six mountain stages from which five with a summit finish.

The individual time trial of 13 kilometer through the streets of Copenhagen is the northernmost start in the history of the event and is followed by two more stages in Denmark through the wind in the heart of the fjords and a travel day. It is in Dunkirk that the peloton will land for the start of the fourth stage, for a first hilly stage in the north of France.

For the first time in four years, the riders will be confronted with 19.4 kilometer of cobble sections between Lille and Wallers-Arenberg, for a fifth stage inspired by Paris-Roubaix. The next day will be special for Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert, as Binche, city where the team’s heart beats, will host the start of the longest stage of 220 kilometer towards the finish on the Côte des Religieuses in Longwy.

Also the finish of the seventh stage holds nice memories for the Belgian team. The Super Planche des Belles Filles, where Xandro Meurisse finished 3rd in 2019, will be the battlefield of the first confrontation between the climbers in the Vosges. Afterwards, the riders make their entry in the Alps via two hilly stages in Switzerland and a rest day.

The second week starts with a crossing of the Haute-Savoie region and a finish on the Altiport of Megève, after 21 kilometer of climbing. The next day in the heart of the Alps, the peloton will have to cover the Col du Télégraphe and the Col du Galibier before finishing on top of the Col du Granon. The Col du Galibier is with its 2642 meter of altitude not only the highest point of this 109th edition, but it will also animate the next difficult stage on July 14th. This time, the climb precedes the Col de la Croix de Fer and a final on Alpe d’Huez.

Before the entry in the Pyrenees, two transition stages and a hilly finish in Mende precede the final rest day. A stage for baroudeurs in Foix goes ahead of two difficult stages in the Pyrenees: Peyresourde and Hautacam are the fourth and fifth uphill finishes of this edition, and both are preceded by other mythical climbs of the Tour, for example the Col d’Aspin, the Aubisque or Val Louron-Azet. The sprinters receive an opportunity in the nineteenth stage in Cahors, before an individual time trial of 40 kilometer which concludes the battle for the general classification, and the traditional closing stage in the capital.

« After a solid first part of the season, we’re looking forward to participate in the Tour de France with a group of motivated riders and in good condition. Each of the riders of our roster has proven his capabilities in a Grand Tour in the past and this experience is one of our strengths. We established a strategy to achieve our goals, notably winning a stage and finishing in the top ten overall with Louis Meintjes. We’re prepared for multiple scenarios. I’m thinking about the challenging first week, as several factors will influence the races, such as the weather conditions of the wind. Our preparation was ideal, we organized several stage recons and the material was intensively tested. A part of the group already benefited from the good work they did during our altitude camp. All ingredients are reunited for our eight riders, they’re motivated to make the colors of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux shine. »

« We're very motivated and hoping to conquer the first stage win in the Tour de France for the team. In the sprints I can rely on a solid train with Andrea Pasqualon and Adrien Petit. The cobble stage on day five will be important for our team, because it corresponds with the strength of our team. We won't be far from our service course, we did several recons so we know the parcours well. This could be an opportunity for me or for Adrien Petit who will be racing at home, but also for Taco van der Hoorn and Andrea Pasqualon who were also part of our memorable collective performance in the latest Paris-Roubaix. Even though the distance is much shorter than at the Hell of North, it will be important to stay concentrated at every single moment as it will be very nervous. »

« I'm in good shape. I achieved my best career result in the Critérium du Dauphiné earlier this month and I also won the Giro dell'Appennino, my first victory in seven years. So my preparation went perfect and I start this Tour with confidence. The first week will be a challenge for me, with thee wind and the cobble stage. But we have a solid and experienced team to tackle the difficulties on this terrain and we did the recons and tested material. We'll also need some luck to get well through the first week. Once this week is behind our back, we can establish a strategy to obtain the best possible GC result in Paris. Maybe this will mean that I'll have to go in the breakaway just likt last year. Everything depends of course on the circumstances at that point in time, but we're prepared to adapt our strategy to achieve our goal of finishing in the top ten in Paris. »

« The opportunity to support Alexander Kristoff towards a victory in this Tour de France is an intense source of motivation as I return to a Grand Tour for the first time since 2017. I'm looking forward to race on the roads of the most important cycling event in the world again, especially in Copenhagen where I've got fantastic memories. In 2011, it was here that I became U23 vice world champion behind my compatriot Arnaud Démare, for who I did a lead out in the sprint. » « Together with Alexander Kristoff and Andrea Pasqualon, we often discussed about this Tour and we circled around ten interesting stages for us. Our sprint train could develop automatisms, each race we did together ahead of this main goal was important. We analyzed all of our sprints and all these lessons will help us to approach the victory in this Tour. Next to my role for Alexander, I'll also support Louis Meintjes in the tricky stages, to protect him from the wind or to position him before the foot of important climbs. » « I know that it will be three challenging weeks, but compared to my previous participations I feel a lot more experienced. The fifth stage between Lille and Wallers-Arenberg will be special for me. First, because it is close to my home, but especially because the first cobble section is named after me since last week. It is very unusual to receive this honor during your active career and the opportunity to race on it during the Tour de France makes it even more exceptional. I'll be cheered on by the members of my fan club that day, it will be an unforgettable experience. »

« I'm very excited for my Tour de France debut. My colleagues already described this event as very special and I'm very curious to discover it myself during the next three weeks. Our season started really well and I'm convinced that with this team, we can continue our succes in the Tour. With Alexander Kristoff and Louis Meintjes, we have two solid leaders for the sprint and the general classification. In addition to my role in support of these two leaders, I'm aiming for a stage win from a breakaway. The chance to win a stage in a Grand Tour is minimal, but it exists. I prove it in the Giro. I will try to achieve it and this from the start of the Tour! »

« It's a childhood dream come true. The Tour de France is the most prestigious race in the world, it's an accomplishment every young cyclist dreaming of a pro career wants to achieve. This reflects the confidence the team has in me since my arrival. In the beginning of the season I received the opportunity to show what I'm capable of and I obtained good results. In the Vuelta of 2020, my first Grand Tour, I've proven that I could handle three weeks as I finished 24th in GC. This experience is precious, for example I learned how to avoid wasting energy in certain stages in order to optimize recovery. Here, my role consists of giving the best possible support to Louis Meintjes in his GC ambitions. Maybe I'll receive the opportunity to go in the breakaway in one or two stages, but my priority is to accompany Louis.  »

Stage 1 (01/07): Kopenhagen – Kopenhagen (13km) (= TT) 
Stage 2 (02/07): Roskilde – Nyborg (200,2km)
Stage 3 (03/07): Vejle – Sonderborg (182km)
Stage 4 (05/05): Dunkerke – Calais (171,5km)
Stage 5 (06/07): Lille Metropole – Arenberg Porte du Hainaut (153,7km)
Stage 6 (07/07): Binche – Longwy (219,9km)
Stage 7 (08/07): Tomblaine – Planche des Belle Filles (176,3km)
Stage 8 (09/07): Dole – Lausanne (186,3km)
Stage 9 (10/07): Aigle – Châtel (192,9km)
Stage 10 (12/07): Morzine – Megève (148,1km)
Stage 11 (13/07): Albertville – Col du Granon Serre Chevalier (151,7km)
Stage 12 (14/07): Briançon – Alpe d’Huez (165,1km)
Stage 13 (15/07): Le Bourg d’Oisans – Saint-Etienne (192,6km)
Stage 14 (16/07): Saint-Etienne – Mende (192,5km)
Stage 15 (17/07): Rodez – Carcassonne (202,5km)
Stage 16 (19/07): Carcassonne – Foix (178,5km)
Stage 17 (20/07): Saint-Gaudens – Peyragues (129,7km)
Stage 18 (21/07): Lourdes – Hautacam (143,2km)
Stage 19 (22/07): Castelnau-Magnoac – Cahors (188,3km)
Stage 20 (23/07): Lacapelle-Marival – Rocamadour (40,7km) (= TT)
Stage 21 (24/07): Paris La Défense Arena – Champs-Elysées (115,6km)


General Classification


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