Roche: Too much of a good thing
Stephen Roche believes an embarrassment of riches could have a detrimental impact on Team Sky's Tour de France hopes this summer.
Twenty five years on from his own Tour success, Roche anticipates a tactical struggle within the British team, with Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome capable of winning the yellow jersey and world champion Mark Cavendish likely to aim to win stages and defend the points classification's green jersey he won in 2011.
Team Sky also have further talents likely to be in their Tour team, including Edvald Boasson Hagen, a double Tour stage winner last summer.
"It's going to be a complicated mix and wanting to take all the cream on the apple tart could make the cream turn sour," HotChillee ambassador Roche said.
"It will change the tactics from the other teams if Sky are winning everything.
"Generally it doesn't work out (to have a sprinter and overall contender). You only have nine men in the team.
"Wiggins and Froome can't be riding in the sprint lead-out or chase down groups, so your nine-man team is now seven.
"Do they ride flat out on all those flat stages for Cavendish and lose energy for the climbs?"
If Sky team principal Dave Brailsford can mastermind a tactical plan, Roche believes overall success ahead of defending champion Cadel Evans and Andy Schleck, runner-up in 2009 and 2011 and champion in 2010 after Alberto Contador's doping conviction, is possible.
It would fulfil Team Sky's lofty ambition at their 2009 launch of winning the Tour within five years with a British rider.
Wiggins was fourth in 2009 but 24th in Team Sky's debut season a year later before crashing out with a broken collarbone last year.
Roche, the 1987 champion, added: "A couple of years ago when Team Sky was launched and their ambitions were announced, we all thought it was a bit pretentious.
"Buying in a Tour winner to win a Tour within five years was possible, but having a natural British Tour winner in the team? There was nobody capable.
"Now they're in their third season and they probably have two British contenders for the overall. It's an amazing success story.
"Bradley is number one, but I think Froome would be my second choice."
The decision over leader between Wiggins and Froome - third and second, respectively in the 2011 Tour of Spain - could come down to form during the race, when time is lost and gained.
Meanwhile, Cavendish, who is aiming for Olympic road race glory on July 28, could be left to his own devices with the assistance of faithful bodyguard Bernhard Eisel.
"The Tour is The Tour and you don't get many shots at winning it," Irishman Roche added.
"The question is who is capable of winning it. It could be Bradley's one shot this year, although there's maybe next year.
"If his shot this year is a really good, genuine chance of winning, they'll definitely back Bradley.
"It's a very luxurious situation to be in for one team to have two guys capable of winning the overall in Paris."