Tour de France 2022 stage 12 preview: Iconic Alpe d'Huez is back!

All you need to know about the route, timings, and what to expect from stage 12

Tour de France
(Image credit: Getty)

Stage 12 of the Tour de France 2022 starts in Briançon, and will reach a fierce conclusion at the peak of the Alpe d’Huez.

On this stage, the Tour tries to recreate the epic drama of Bernard Hinault and Greg LeMond in 1986 with a direct lift from that race’s roadbook

When is stage 12 of the Tour de France taking place?

The Tour de France stage 12 takes place on Thursday, July 14 starting at 12:20 BST with an anticipated finish time of 17:08 BST. 

How long is stage 12 of the Tour de France?

The Tour de France stage 12 will be 165.1 km long.

Tour de France stage 12: expected timings

RouteDistance to goAnticipated Time (BST)
Briançon 165.1km12:20
Col du Galibier131.9km13:24
Col de la Croix De Fer54.5km15:41
Alpe d’Huez0km17:08

Tour de France stage 12 route

Tour de France stage 12

(Image credit: Tour de France)

The day begins in Briançon, from where the riders will start the long climb to the southerly flank of the Col du Galibier. The ascent is steady to start with, although the wind can often be strong and head on. At the Col du Lautaret, the riders will turn right and ascend more steeply for 8.5km to the top of the Galibier. From the summit, they’ll descend for close to 50km.

After a short haul down the Maurienne valley, they’ll climb the Croix de Fer. It’s a ‘steppy’ climb with two distinct drops, the toughest gradients coming immediately prior to these descents. From the summit, at just above 2,000m, there’s another long downhill section into the Romanche valley, followed by 10km of flat, often into the wind, to reach Le Bourg d’Oisans at the foot of Alpe d’Huez.

Back on the Tour route for the first time since 2018, the climb averages 8.1% for its 13.8km. Its toughest sections are right at the bottom and, later, just above the village of Huez on the approach to the ski station.

Useful Tour de France 2022 resources

Tour de France stage 12: what to expect 

Will any of the GC favourites be daring enough to follow Hinault’s example and launch an attack on the descent off the Galibier, less than halfway into the stage? It’s unlikely, but anyone who might be tempted would probably find they’d have some strong climbers for company. The stage is more likely to play out in the more traditional way, the breakaway riders taking the initial KoM points before being reeled in ahead of the duel of the GC favourites on Alpe d’Huez, who’ll have the added motivation of the prestige of victory on this fabled mountain.

Tour de France stage 12: riders to watch

Will fortune favour the French once again on Bastille Day? If it does, Groupama-FDJ appear to have the best candidates in Thibaut Pinot and David Gaudu. Colombia is also due another winner here. It’s 38 years since Luis Herrera claimed the Andean nation’s first and only success on the Alpe. In Dani Martínez and Nairo Quintana they have two Tour mountain stage winners who could end that drought.

Geraint's greatest day

Only one rider has ever won at Alpe d’Huez in the yellow jersey*, Geraint Thomas achieving that unprecedented feat as he raced clear of his rivals in the final few hundred metres up to the line when the Tour last finished on the mountain in 2018. 

The Welshman had taken the lead the day before after winning another Alpine summit finish at the resort of La Rosière, where he pushed Greg Van Avermaet out of the yellow jersey and opened up a lead of more than a minute on his Sky team-mate and defending champion Chris Froome. In the form of his life heading towards Alpe d’Huez, Thomas was in the small group that caught lone breakaway Steven Kruijswijk two-thirds of the way up the final climb, before accelerating away from Froome, Tom Dumoulin, Romain Bardet and Mikel Landa passing through the resort. 

* Lance Armstrong’s ‘wins’ here were struck from the record book

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

Peter Cossins has been writing about professional cycling since 1993, with his reporting appearing in numerous publications and websites including Cycling WeeklyCycle Sport and Procycling - which he edited from 2006 to 2009. Peter is the author of several books on cycling - The Monuments, his history of cycling's five greatest one-day Classic races, was published in 2014, followed in 2015 by Alpe d’Huez, an appraisal of cycling’s greatest climb. Yellow Jersey - his celebration of the iconic Tour de France winner's jersey won the 2020 Telegraph Sports Book Awards Cycling Book of the Year Award.