It is a sign of Bradley Wiggins's progression to the top of world cycling that in just three short years he has gone from a surprise fourth-place finisher at the 2009 Tour to Great Britain's great hope, one of the favourites to top the podium in 2012.
It seems no time at all since Wiggins provided the shock of the Tour de France in 2009 by finishing fourth overall, the best ever result for a British rider.
Wiggins demonstrated a previously unseen climbing ability in 2009 which put him in contention, along with Alberto Contador, Lance Armstrong and Andy Schleck, for overall victory in the race.
Since then his record at the Tour has been one of immense disappointment - a 24th place in 2010, and a withdrawal last time out after breaking his collarbone in a crash on Stage 7 - but he goes into this year's race in the form of his life.
The 32-year-old has enjoyed a run of victories never before achieved in the sport, winning the Paris-Nice, Tour de Romandie and retaining his Criterium du Dauphine title from last year, all in the space of four months. He starts the Tour as favourite alongside last year's winner Cadel Evans, while hopes are high he can finish in the medals at London 2012 too.
It's been a long road to success for Wiggins, who was a winner on the track before he set his mind to road racing. Twice a gold medalist in the Team Pursuit (2004 and 2008) he has also won six World Championship titles across the Team Pursuit, Pursuit and the Madison.
At the 2004 Olympics in Greece, he became the first British athlete in 40 years to win three medals at one games but his cycling life began in less auspicious circumstances: on the track at the Herne Hill Velodrome in South East London.
To date Wiggins' career has included spells at Francaise des Jeux, Credit Agricole, Cofidis, Team High Road, Garmin-Slipstream and Team Sky.
Sky's impressive roster for the race should give Wiggins all the support he needs - though it remains to be seen how the team will balance Wiggins's push for the podium with Mark Cavendish's quest for green.
Still, while Cavendish remains the headline-grabber in the UK for his achievements in the Tour points classifcation, Wiggins would top the Manxman's achievements if he were to bring home the yellow jersey this time around.