The route for the 2007 Tour de France was launched in London yesterday with a presentation which evoked Britain's cycling past but omitted one of the sport's biggest stars from these shores.
Mayor of London Ken Livingstone joined with Jean Marie Leblanc, deputy director of ASO, the company which organises the Tour, and its cycling director Christian Preudhomme to reveal the routes for the first two stages.
The prologue time trial, on Saturday, July 7, 2007, will take the riders on an eight-kilometre loop past the capital's major landmarks, starting on Whitehall, travelling past the Houses of Parliament, through St James's Park and Hyde Park before finishing in front of Buckingham Palace. Stage one the following day will see the peloton sweep east out of London and, via Maidstone and Royal Tunbridge Wells, arrive in Canterbury.
Names from British cycling history were evoked from Barry Hoban and Brian Robinson to Bradley Wiggins.
Tom Simpson, arguably Britain's greatest cyclist, who died during the 1967 Tour after taking a cocktail of amphetamines and brandy, was mentioned.
There was footage of Chris Boardman and Sean Yates, resplendent in yellow jerseys.
However, David Millar, Britain's most recent 'maillot jaune', was notable by his absence.
The Scot is currently serving the last months of a two-year ban after admitting in a French police station that he had taken the illegal blood-booster EPO.
Both ASO and the Tour's London hosts hope Millar, expected to make his comeback in this year's race, will be on the Whitehall start ramp next year.
But, as a convicted drugs cheat, he remains persona non grata - at least officially - even if he was clean when he won the prologue on his Tour debut in 2000.
Boardman has been working with Millar as he prepares to return to racing but he had some sympathy for the Tour officials.
"It's a difficult line to tread," said Boardman. "He's served his time but the only way he can deal with it is by competing."
The Tour has only visited the UK on two previous occasions; the first in 1974 was a low-key affair in Plymouth while the second in 1994 saw three million people crowd the roads along the south coast.
However, it will be the first time it has visited London and, as one of the highest profile week-end's in the Tour's history, it will also be comfortably the biggest sporting event in the capital between now and the 2012 Olympics. Around two million additional visitors will come to the capital, with the two days of racing expected to generate £70 million in revenue, according to the organisers.
Boardman predicted a party atmosphere. "I say you can watch it on three different levels," he said.
"You watch it as a bike race - and the beauty of the prologue is, because it's a time-trial - it builds throughout the day as each rider goes through the course.
"You can watch it as one of the world's biggest sporting events. Or you can treat it as a party, which is what the French do."