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.”

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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