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Could a bridge determine this year’s Tour de France winner?

Stage 2 in Denmark might have a few surprises

Bridge in Denmark linking islands Tour de France Photo by: Grand Départ Copenhagen Denmark Tour de France ‘22 @letourdk

The first week of the Tour is always hectic…but could a bridge ruin the chances for some of the favourites? On stage two, the TdF heads out on its second day in Denmark, from Roskilde to Nyborg. It’s a flat stage (like most of Denmark) and at 199 km, at least on paper, it looks like a day for the sprinters.

A bridge to somewhere

Denmark, similar to Holland, doesn’t have much in the way of long climbs, but definitely has wind. Expect the second stage to be one full of echelons and crosswinds. But it also has one obstacle which could wreak havoc with some of the riders aiming for the overall. The Storebælt which translates to Great Belt, is a strait between the island Sjælland where capital Copenhagen lays, to Fyn, home to the city Odense. Odense is most famous for being the home to writer Hans Christian Andersen.

The Storebæltsforbindelsen, which in English translates to the Great Belt Fixed Link is a link crossing the Great Belt. Construction began in 1991, and was completed in 1998. The link consists of a road suspension bridge as well as a railway tunnel between Sjælland and the  island Sprogø.

Wind and exposed conditions

The riders will be riding the bridge toward the end of stage two, and with the exposed winds, it could be chaotic. The first week of the Tour de France is always tricky, with nervous riders anxious to grab a stage win, and speedy finales where sprinters are hungry for victory.

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For a rider focusing on the overall win, it means they need to pay attention in every stage, avoid crashes and stay at the front. In Tours past, there have been many cases of favourites losing a minute or two on a flat stage, if the peloton splinters in the wind. A minute or two loss for a rider going for the yellow jersey would be catastrophic.

The total distance for the Storebæltsforbindelsen is 18 km, and if it’s a windy day, things could get interesting. There are times in Denmark where the wind is so strong that transport trucks are not allowed to cross. So if it’s one of those days…it could be a very dramatic second stage.