With Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) crashing out injured, Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) lacking the form and Peter Sagan (Cannondale) unable to buy a win for love nor money, Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) has emerged as a serious sprint contender at the Tour with two stage wins.
Marcel Kittel remains the man to beat, though when the Giant-Shimano sprint train misfired for once, Kristoff was quick to take advantage.
Weather conditions certainly aided his plight, but with team-mate Luca Paolini having been on top form during the last two spring stages – putting in huge efforts on the front of the bunch for Kristoff, the Norwegian has reaped the rewards.
It may appear to many, the Champs-Elysees will be nothing more than a formality with Kittel repeating his success of 12 months ago.
Milan-San Remo winner Kristoff, however, has shown with a bit of luck and with his form improving by the stage, he should certainly not be counted out of the reckoning for stage success in Paris.