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.”
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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.”
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