Who are the 2022 national champions?
Your guide to the 2022 national champions.
Your guide to the 2022 national champions.
It’s the last weekend before the Tour de France, which can mean only one thing: it’s time to find out which riders will swap team jerseys for their nation’s colours for the next twelve months.
They’re not all the easiest races to find and watch live (they’re frankly not always the most exciting races either), but the national championships have a real hold on the cycling world, being the only event besides Worlds and the Olympics for which the winner can enjoy the victory all year round. There’s a certain magic about wearing the colours of your home nation – think Philippe Gilbert winning the 2017 Tour of Flanders in the Belgian tricolour, Evita Muzic’s strikingly simple French champ’s jersey – and while disappointment is forever on the table, it’s always exciting to see what the various teams come up with for their new champions.
While there will be a number of freshly crowned national champions at the Grand Boucle, there’s a host of others who have chosen to forfeit their chance for fear of crash or coronavirus infection, their eyes sharply focused on the Grand Départ. Among them are reigning champions Matej Mohorič (Bahrain-Victorious) and Wout van Aert, whose Jumbo-Visma team is not sending any of their Tour lineup to their respective national champs.
One of the bigger stories of the national championships came at the Dutch men’s time trial, one of the more intriguing events of a week whose interest is usually reserved for the aftermath, i.e. how’s the jersey going to look? After a disappointing few months, punctuated by one moment of relief, Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma) was hoping to crown his career with a fifth national title. However, it was Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) who took victory, going 31 seconds faster than the former TT world champion for his first national title on his first try, and, unbelievably, his first professional win on home soil.
Others who will introduce their fresh kit on day one of the Tour de France include everyone’s favourite Latvian Toms Skujinš (Trek-Segafredo), Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe) of Germany, Slovenia’s Jan Tratnik (Bahrain-Victorious), and a resurgent Bob Jungels (AG2R-Citroën) who reclaimed the Luxembourg title for the eighth time in his career.
There’s also Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) who, after failing to podium last year, took back the Italian national time trial title this week, but will go after his first ever Tour de France stage win in the rainbow jersey of world champion.
On the first road stage, Peter Sagan (TotalEnergies) will return to the colours of Slovakia that he’s enjoyed seven times already, and which he and his brother Juraj have controlled since 2011. Elsewhere, Nils Politt (Bora-Hansgrohe), winner of stage 12 of last year’s Tour, will pull on the German colours for the first time in his career.
Once the men leave the stage and hand over to the long-awaited Tour de France Femmes, Audrey Cordon-Ragot (Trek-Segafredo) will have the rare and glorious honour of wearing the French flag throughout after doubling up on national titles for the first time in her glittering career.
Mavi García (UAE Team ADQ) is a Swiss army knife of a rider who excels on all terrain, as is demonstrated by her exploits of this past week in Spain. On Friday, the 38-year-old put almost a minute into her nearest rival Sheyla Gutierrez (Movistar) over the 21.6 kilometre TT course, and less than 24 hours later, García rinsed the competition in the road race, winning solo by over three minutes. Her means of victory are characteristically spectacular, and all the more so given that she defended the double title she’s carried for two years already. Best female rider in Spain? No doubt.
Of all the teams in competition, Trek-Segafredo has had enormous success across both men’s and women’s pelotons. The first of their riders to find success was Cordon-Ragot, who defended her TT title on Thursday – bringing her TT tally up to six – before winning the two-up sprint to victory over Gladys Verhulst (Le Col-Wahoo) in Saturday’s road race. Cordon-Ragot is a multiple national champion, but remarkably this is the first year she’s won both disciplines in one season. Here begins 12 months of uninterrupted bleu, blanc et rouge.
Someone who is fast earning her place at the top table is the wildly talented young Hungarian Blanka Vas who also doubled up on back-to-back road and TT titles. Although frankly, and more accurately, the 20-year-old has in fact doubled up on triple titles when you include cyclocross. While Vas hasn’t yet had a taste of success on the road outside of Hungary – just like multiple double Israeli champion Omer Shapira (EF Education-Tibco-SVB) – she’s been tapping on the door and has the perfect environment for development at SD Worx.
Meanwhile, in Denmark, the Norsgaard family will be delighted with their offspring Emma and Mathias (both Movistar) who both took the time trial title on Thursday, Emma successfully defending her 2021 victory. A different but no less impressive double victory for the Norsgaards.
Sunday’s racing was rich with drama and excitement, including solo victories for Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig and Nils Politt. A drama of a different kind unfolded in Great Britain’s road races, Dumfries and Galloway offering some very off-putting weather. After 19-year-old Alice Towers (Le Col-Wahoo) soloed to victory in the morning, it was Mark Cavendish who put on one of the most formidable displays in the men’s race. He attacked relentlessly until he found himself in a three-man group for the last few kilometres, the podium all but sealed. All that remained was the sprint to the line, and the prolific 37-year-old surged to a second national title nine years after the first – both won in Scotland.