The 2012 Tour de France route is producing a ‘boring’ race this year, according to RadioShack-Nissan’s Fränk Schleck. He has been in the top five three times, third last year, but this year he is suffering. It is partly due to crashes and partly due to the parcours.

“It’s a strange tour, not one like we used to see from the other years,” he told Cycling Weekly. “Like we knew ahead of the race, I believe it’s one for time trialists.”

Schleck stepped on the final podium of last year’s Tour with his brother Andy behind winner Cadel Evans (BMC Racing). The duo tried to shake Evans in the Alps to gain time ahead of the final time trial. They succeeded. Andy carried the yellow jersey for one day and into the last time trial in Grenoble, where Evans turned the tables and won the race overall.

Andy had to miss the Tour this year due to a small hip fracture. Fränk is in France, though, and dealing with an unfavourable parcours.

Last year, the race featured 65.5 kilometres of time trials. This year, there are 101.4 kilometres. The Tour organiser planned it this way to bring out attacks on several of the smaller climbs and the stages through the high-mountains.

“I think that was the idea behind it. Sometimes you have a good profile for you, sometimes it’s bad. Sometimes if it’s bad for you, it’s good for someone else. It always equals out,” Fränk said. “This year it’s bad for me. I can live with that.”

Schleck rode with race leader Bradley Wiggins (Sky) for part of the climb to La Toussuire, but he is not threatening for the overall win this year. He is tired from his early season racing schedule and lost time, two minutes to a crash and 4-32 in the Besançon time trial.

He sits 12th overall at 9-45 minutes back from Wiggins.

“Sometimes it’s good for you, sometimes it’s bad for someone else. I’m not complaining,” Schleck said.

“Guys like me, [Vincenzo] Nibali and Andy, if he was here, we’d have to attack early into the race, but then you have team Sky who just have to control from behind. I think the idea [of the course design] was good, to make the race even more aggressive. It’s great how they did it and a great idea, but I think they are just going to have a boring Tour.”

Tour de France 2012: Latest news

Wiggins still Sky’s main man as Tour heads towards Pyrenees

Millar’s Tour win comes after ‘second chance’

Froome explains his attack on La Toussuire

Nibali fails to crack Sky but pleased with Tour mountains performance

Roche ready to achieve career-long Tour top ten ambition

Wiggins: ‘I’m not some s**t rider that’s come from nowhere

Nibali hits out at Wiggins after Tour frustration

Cavendish enjoying new Tour role

Wiggins taking nothing for granted in ‘dream scenario’

Sky keeping Tour focus on Wiggins

Di Gregorio arrested by police at Tour de France

Tour de France 2012: Teams, riders, start list

Tour 2012: Who will win?

Tour de France 2012 provisional start list

Tour de France 2012 team list

Tour de France 2012: Stage reports

Stage 13: Greipel survives climb and crosswinds to win third Tour stage

Stage 12: Millar wins Tour stage nine years from his last

Stage 11: Wiggins strengthens Tour lead as Evans slips back

Stage 10: Voeckler wins and saves his Tour

Stage nine: Wiggins destroys opposition in Besancon TT

Stage eight: Pinot solos to Tour win as Wiggins fights off attacks

Stage seven: Wiggins takes yellow as Froome wins stage

Stage six: Sagan wins third Tour stage

Stage five: Greipel wins again as Cavendish fades

Stage four: Greipel wins stage after Cavendish crashes

Stage three: Sagan runs away with it in Boulogne

Stage two: Cavendish takes 21st Tour stage victory

Stage one: Sagan wins at first attempt

Prologue: Cancellara wins, Wiggins second

Tour de France 2012: Comment, analysis, blogs

Analysis: What we learned at La Planche des Belles Filles

Analysis: How much time could Wiggins gain in Tour’s time trials

CW’s Tour de France podcasts

Blog: Tour presentation – chasing dreams and autographs

Comment: Cavendish the climber

Tour de France 2012: Photo galleries

Stage 13 by Graham Watson

Stage 12 by Graham Watson

Stage 11 by Graham Watson

Stage 10 by Graham Watson

Stage nine by Graham Watson

Stage eight by Graham Watson

Stage seven by Graham Watson

Stage six by Graham Watson

Stage five by Graham Watson

Stage four by Graham Watson

Stage three by Graham Watson

Stage two by Andy Jones

Stage two by Graham Watson

Stage one by Graham Watson

Prologue photo gallery by Andy Jones

Prologue photo gallery by Roo Rowler

Prologue photo gallery by Graham Watson

Tour de France 2012: Team presentation

Sky and Rabobank Tour de France recce

Tour de France 2012: Live text coverage

Stage 10 live coverage

Stage nine live coverage

Stage six live coverage

Stage five live coverage

Stage four live coverage

Stage three live coverage

Cycling Weekly’s live text coverage schedule

Tour de France 2012: TV schedule
ITV4 live schedule
British Eurosport live schedule

Tour de France 2012: Related links

Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Cavendish

Brief history of the Tour de France

Tour de France 2011: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index

1989: The Greatest Tour de France ever


  • Ima Sleep

    Schleck is exactly right. Sky’s planned domination of a weak GC field is a totally natural cure to insomnia. I like Wiggins as he seems to be a stand up type guy, but the course is such that he only has to ride wheels and excel in the flat individual time trials and prolouge. I find the individual time trials boring to begin with so I like the idea of removing them and letting the riders race to the finish side by side. If the individual time trial is a must, at least start them at the bottom of a mountain and have them ride to the top once in a while. Why do the flat landers always benefit? The only saving graces for this years tour is the incredible scenery, as always, and a strong field of sprinters (even though the green jersey was determined early).

  • Kat

    The Schlecks are the biggest babies who think all benefits should be for them and them alone. I still have a “fire in my belly” about the slipped chain of Andy Schleck when Contador had attacked. If everyone had to stop every time Andy slips a chain, we wouldn’t get to Paris at all! Excuses excuses, they always have them why they didn’t win, what wasn’t fair. Nonsense, let your bike do the talking. I’m sick of the Schlecks and how the media coddles them.

    Boring to you, Frankie, cuz you’re out and before you were out, you were failing. Perform or keep quiet, I say. Contador has more class than either of you.

    However, I will say I thought Contador might have been slipped the banned substance when he was on Bruyneel’s team, and Frank had been a thorn in Bruyneel’s side so…hmmmm. It could happen!

  • Fcapo

    Boring does not even cover it. The players at the high end of the classification put in an awful showing either not making or unable to to make any attacks. The three time trials gave this to Wiggins before the race even started and that may have dampened everyone’s enthusiasm for the race. Why attack for time when you give end up giving it all back in a time trial? Sad thing is that Wiggins is the winner,but maybe not the the best man. Just terrible as far as a whole race goes. It’s the race they were all given, but certainly is not the challenge it should be for the tour. Sky is by far the best team to deliver a winner, but that’s easy when the minutes are decided by time trial. A single time trial prolouge to set time is more then enough, and then let them sort it out I an actual road race. No battles, no heart, no race.

  • Trenchfoot
  • ChicagoSammo

    Busted today, Frank . . . do you still think it’s boring?

  • Norris

    Come on Frank….What have you done to liven up this Tour? You are one of the boring riders who insist that the system of ear-phones is continued so that you dont have to think, show initiative, attempt anything, try to break away.

    I for one am thankful that the Tour has had riders such as Thomas Voeckler who for years has had the ‘b***s’ to give it a animate the course..where as you and Andy have, for years, largely just sat and waited for Bjarne Riis to tell you what to do.

    Have we seen you on the front at all this year? Have you even tried to break away on any of the climbs?

    I reckon that you are being paid too well…you’re not hungry enough !

  • Luke

    It is pretty boring. Last year’s course was a masterstroke with the hilly finishes, some very clever stages through the Alps and a fair share of summit finishes. This year too many mountain stages have had the mountains too early, or finished with a descent, or haven’t been selective enough.
    I’m British so sure a British winner would be great but Team Sky have just been closing everything down relentlessly like the old days of US Postal (no suggested links to any of their other practices).
    The most exciting days were the early hilly sprints and the panache of Voeckler, Rolland (although not on stage 14), Pinot, Sanchez and Millar.

  • Tour de Sleep

    It has been hard to stay awake for long stretches of this 99th Tour. The attacks have been feeble. It seems as if everyone has resigned themselves to Wiggins winning and it’s hard to tell how strong he really is. There is no doubt he has the strongest team, so how much work has he really had to do? The strategy and tactics of the other teams have been questionable. Hour after hour of riding for a few minutes of “racing.” And today’s 15th stage is a real snoozer. Even the sprinters’ have lost interest. Phil and Paul have even said it is not a very good show for le grand boucle. Perhaps they should all abandon, accept their prizes and head for London. I’ve always felt that these guys are some of the best athletes in the world but this is a bike ride, not a bike race.

  • Adrian

    Is this an example of taking a comment out of context? The way most of the articles written doesn’t tally up with the headline or the leading paragraph. Schleck says sometimes it suits you, sometimes it suits others and it tends to balance out, says he can see the idea behind it, and thinks it’s a good idea!
    But his final remark just suggests he doesn’t think it’s worked…

    Personally I think it’s been great from what I’ve seen as well, but a little bit biased considering the standings…

    Just feels like Schleck has been picked up on a small closing negative comment when other things he said were generally supportive of the tour…

  • David Weiss

    Just look who is winning. Bradley’s best place before had been…what…24th?. And he is wining!!!???????

  • JMH

    It’s certainly not the best ever TDF route, but with the exception of the stage into Saint Quentin there’s been something of interest in every stage.

    As for Schleck, I think we all recognise that his placing in the GC is not a true reflection of his talent. As a result he should be disappointed in himself, not the route.

  • Zak

    Frank: “It is such a boring tour. You know what, I’m going to go visit the carpet factory and see what they can russle up to make it, let’s say, more…interesting”


  • JD

    What Schleck means is “I’m not doing that well.”

    Ironically his brother was slated for being boring in last year’s Tour and ended up going on a long breakaway to restore his image.

  • sheldon

    Absolute rubbish, this years tour is great and it’s clean. Plenty of riders trying to attack Wiggins but none of them are strong enough. Last year the Schlecks sat back and waited and waited before attacking, they blew their chances. Frank this year has been blown off the pace, just accept that this year you are just not good enough. I am looking forward to seeing Wiggins in the mountains on Wednesday and Thursday.

  • liverlipslouis

    I think Frank is right. Much as I want a British win this tour has been very boring most of the time.

  • Colnago dave

    Thats good coming from the Bros , between them they have breen part of boring tours previously. I never can undestand on what basis they are considered as great riders as between them and even counting Luxembourg Championships they have only won a couple of races.

  • jimmythefish

    Boring my conkers!!! Ooo does this geezer think he is? I didn’t see him fighting for the win yesterday. Anyway, just a reminder for the editor that we’ve got a bundle of Olympic tickets. Box Hill and more, just turn up at the ‘Old Arcade ‘ on the 25th with a monkey or two in readies QED