As wearer of the green jersey at the race start, Robbie McEwen will be the man to beat in the bunch sprints.
Best Tour: Green jersey - 2002
The Australian had a superb build-up to last year's Tour de France and lived up to that billing with a stunning outing.
He regularly finished in the top 10 of each sprint, as well as winning the third stage and the blue riband final stage on the Champs Elysee.
His second stage win of the Tour also earned him the green jersey and ended Erik Zabel's six-year winning streak after a sensational head-to-head battle.
This season his preparations have fallen some way short due to injury and illness, but he now looks to be recapturing some of his best form.
He first made his name as a BMX rider before making his way among the sport's elite.
Prior to last year, his highlight came with the final stage victory on the Champs Elysee in the 1999 Tour de France, the most sought-after win of the race for the fast finishers.
But injuries have plagued the Australian and he has been forced out of a series of high-profile events with a knee complaint.
Should he be able to maintain his consistency, he should battle it out again for green with countryman Stuart O'Grady and Erik Zabel.
McEwen has had a difficult closed season after his Lotto-Adecco team joined forces with Domo-Farm Frites.
The Australian had left Domo-Farm Frites after the team decided he was not the sprinter for them.
Whether he can prove to be truly settled remains to be seen.