For me, theTour de France proper begins today when the riders nudge their way into the mountains, or at least the foothill of the Alps, during the 165.5km from Tournus to Station des Rousses.
With three category two climbs and a couple of short sharp category three ascents it is testing rather than epic in any way but it does conclude with summit finish on the 1145m Cote de Lamoura.
Inevitably most interest will centre on Lance Armstrong who needs to get busy and be proactive after losing time to all his big general classification rivals on the cobbles on Tuesday when he was unlucky to puncture at a key moment.
The days to come will see the riders tackle the high mountains of the Alps: Sunday- Station des Rousses > Morzine-Avoriaz and then Tuesday -Morzine-Avoriaz > Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne. Apart from the interest in the climbs, the TV coverage of the scenery will be just breathtaking.