Tadej Pogačar is impressed by the route of the 2022 Tour de France, even if he views it as a complex affair with numerous potential booby traps.
The race begins with a 13km time trial and two windy but flat stages in Denmark, before transitioning south to undertake cobbles, more crosswinds, punchy ascents and mythical Alpine climbs.
Pogačar won his second successive Tour this summer after dominating the opening week, and it is likely that the winner of the 2022 edition will have to not just survive a seriously difficult first nine stages but be in a commanding position if they want to win the yellow jersey.
Week two and week three pack in six mountain stages before culminating with a 40km time trial, a distance that Pogačar could put a good amount of time into his rivals.
The Slovenian, who only turned 23 just over three weeks ago, told the media in Paris after the route's unveiling: "It's pretty great. It's pretty interesting from stage one to the last stage, with sprint stages, crosswinds, cobblestones, small climbs, steep climbs, long climbs, everything. It's really a complete Tour.
"I will do some recon because it will be necessary. I am pretty excited. The windy stages are always tricky and everybody is nervous for those stages. It will be interesting to see what happens.
"When you have a 20km-long bridge [in Denmark], it's rare that nothing happens. It will be scary.
"I think the time trials are good news, if I feel good."
Fifty-three time trialling kilometres will favour Pogačar and his fellow Slovenian Primož Roglič, but the UAE-Team Emirates man refused to be drawn on who will be the favourites just yet.
"There are lots," he said. "We will talk about it when we start. It's a really long way to July.
"We need to start the season first and then we talk about the favourites. It's a bit more pressure than if you didn't win before."
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1