Of last year’s stage winners, only Thor Hushovd and Michael Rasmussen can be said to be having vintage races so far.
Twelve months is an awfully long time in professional cycling these days – almost anything can happen.
Many of the men who were top of the world last July are experiencing very different emotions this year.
Here’s a run-down of last year’s stage winners and how they are faring so far.
Thor Hushovd (won at Strasbourg and Paris): Took a stage win at Joigny after a brilliant lead-out from his Credit Agricole team-mate Julian Dean.
Jimmy Casper (won at Strasbourg): Watching at home on television after his Unibet team were left out of the Tour by ASO
Robbie McEwen (won at Esch-sur-Alzette, Saint-Quentin and Saint-Gregoire): Utterly dominant in Canterbury but suffered with his knee and finished 20 minutes outside the time limit at Tignes.
Matthias Kessler (won at Valkenburg): Tested positive for testosterone before the Tour, sacked by Astana.
Oscar Freire (won at Caen and Dax): Did not start stage seven. Suffering with a saddle sore again. Best result second at Bourg-en-Bresse.
Seguei Gonchar (won at Rennes and Montceau-les-Mines): Sacked by T-Mobile after tests showed ‘irregularities’ in his blood.
Sylvain Calzati (won at Lorient): Packed on stage 11 to Montpellier.
Juan Miguel Mercado (won at Pau): Anonyomus.
Denis Menchov (won at Pla de Beret): Lost big time on stage to Briancon. Out of the running and had to work for team-mate Rasmussen instead.
Yaroslav Popovych (won at Carcassonne): Lively in the Alps and lurking dangerously in the king of the mountains competition.
Jens Voigt (won at Montelimar): Looked odds on to win from the group in Marseille but ended up only fifth.
Pierrick Fedrigo (won at Gap): Invisible and suffering with a bad back.
Frank Schleck (won at Alpe d’Huez): Was riding well but finished in the Vinokourov group at Briancon, three minutes down.
Michael Rasmussen (won at La Toussuire): Romped to win at Tignes to take yellow jersey.
Floyd Landis (won at Morzine): Still waiting to hear from the US Anti-Doping Agency after failing a dope test at last year’s Tour.
Matteo Tosatto (won at Macon): Working for Boonen but upstaged by Quick Step team-mates Gert Steegmans and Cedric Vasseur.
LAST YEAR’S TOP TEN – WHERE ARE THEY NOW (after stage 11)
1 Floyd Landis – awaiting USADA verdict on his doping case
2 Oscar Pereiro – 13th overall
3 Andreas Kloden – 7th
4 Carlos Sastre – 6th
5 Cadel Evans – 4th
6 Denis Menchov – 18th
7 Cyril Dessel – 154th
8 Christophe Moreau – 14th
9 Haimar Zubeldia – 15th
10 Michael Rogers – crashed on stage 8, withdrew