Having seen the leaked Tour de France route last week Johan Bruyneel was expecting the worst when he arrived at the Palais des Congres in Paris to witness the full and official unveiling of the 2012 route.
Just over an hour later the Belgian team boss cut a more much optimistic figure. In 2012 he will manage the newly formed RadioShack-Trek-Nissan team and manage the Schleck brothers, Chris Horner and Andreas Klöden.
While he admitted that the amount of time trialing – almost 100 kilometers – would harm the Schlecks’ chances of overall victory, he clung onto the fact that the largest test against the clock came in the final few days, when riders are typically tired and less able to exploit their strengths.
The Tour route may have more time trialing but it also has more climbs than the 2011 route, although there are fewer mountain top finishes and Bruyneel believes that the Schlecks will need to change their typical race tactics if they are hoping to produce a winning ride.
One of Bruyneel’s riders, Andreas Klöden, was absent from the presentation but he could be a dark horse for the race. In this exclusive interview with Cyclingnews, Bruyneel discusses the route, his team’s strength in depth and the option of sending one Schleck to the Tour and another to the Giro d’Italia.