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Stephen Roche: Team Sky face Tour de France conundrums

By:
Cycling News
Published:
April 19, 2012, 19:48 BST,
Updated:
April 19, 2012, 22:57 BST
Edition:
Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, April 19, 2012
Race:
Tour de France
Bradley Wiggins (Sky)

Bradley Wiggins (Sky)

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Questions over yellow or green, Wiggins or Froome and more

As he prepares to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his Tour de France victory, Stephen Roche has revealed his major concerns ahead of Team Sky's bid for glory in the great race this July. According to the Irishman, the team's embarrassment of riches means that boss David Brailsford has numerous conundrums to solve and that he could well be in for a few sleepless nights over the next few weeks.

Both Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins have solid claims to be the team's number one in terms of overall GC, while Mark Cavendish will be looking to retain the green jersey that he won last year. On top of this, there are other riders in the squad, such as Edvald Boasson Hagen, who have proved themselves capable of winning individual stages.

"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," Roche said.

"Generally it doesn't work out [an assault on both green and yellow jerseys]. 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?"

Despite his reservations, Roche was full of praise for what the team has achieved in a short space of time and admitted that its progress had surprised him. With Wiggins and Froome both performing well at last season's Vuelta a Espana, and with Wiggins winning Paris-Nice last month, Roche feels that the team are genuinely double-handed as they look to win the Tour.

"A couple of years ago, when Team Sky was launched and its ambitions were announced, we all thought it was a bit pretentious," he said. "Now they're in their third season and they probably have two British contenders for the overall. It's an amazing success story. Wiggins is number one, but I think Froome would be my second choice.

"The Tour is The Tour and you don't get many shots at winning it." 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."

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