In his "On Tour" book, Bradley Wiggins describes Steve Cummings as his "front guard", calling the Wirral man "his oldest mate in cycling".
The book relates to the 2010 race, in which they completed riding for Team Sky. On Saturday, Cummings will again go into the Tour - only his second ever - working alongside a pre-race favourite. However, the difference is that it's Cadel Evans, and not Wiggins for whom he'll be riding.
"The leader or person I'm working for doesn't change my job - that always remains the same," he told Cycling Weekly at BMC's press conference this afternoon in Liege.
"Cadel is ready and relaxed - everyone within the team is. Yes, it's hard to tell what's going to happen, but I've looked at the route a lot."
That Cummings is here at all may be surprising to many. He's had another difficult season, having injured his left wrist during the Tour of California just weeks after breaking it in the Tour of the Basque Country. In February's Tour of the Algarve, he broke his pelvis. Hardly ideal preparation, some would argue.
However, despite having raced 22 days in 2012 thus far, Cummings says he is ready to take on the Tour.
"I'm prepared and I'm going to give it all I have. The crashes set me back, yes, but I'm in good condition and I'm on the up as I proved in the Tour de Suisse. There have been guys before me who were competitive at the Tour despite racing little beforehand, so I'll try and follow that."
Cycling Weekly's 2012 Tour de France coverage index
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Nick Bull is an NCTJ qualified journalist who has written for a range of titles, as well as being a freelance writer at Beat Media Group, which provides reports for the PA Media wire which is circulated to the likes of the BBC and Eurosport. His work at Cycling Weekly predominantly dealt with professional cycling, and he now holds a role as PR & Digital Manager at SweetSpot Group, which organises the Tour of Britain.
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