Never in the 104-year history of the Tour de France has a British rider returned across the channel with the maillot jaune but 2012 has been scheduled as the year Bradley Wiggins changes all that.
The Londoner's fourth place in the general classification in the 2009 tour, which equalled Britain (and Scotland's) best previous tour finish by Robert Millar in 1984, was hailed as a landmark achievement, but even since then the terrain around him has changed significantly.
The 32-year-old with the trademark sideburns might have crashed out after the first week of last year's tour, but he has already won three prestigious stage races this year (Paris-Nice, Tour de Romandie and Dauphine Libere). In addition, no English rider has had as effective a force at his command since Agincourt.
Moreover, this year's route – which began in Belgium yesterday and takes in Switzerland – contains more than 100km of time trials, the forte of the triple Olympic gold medallist, and two of his main rivals are missing with Alberto Contador serving a drugs ban and Andy Schleck out with a snapped vertebrae.
People scoffed when Team Sky launched in 2010 with a grand mission statement of delivering a Tour de France win within five years but so heavily has the communications giant bought into the project that it would be no surprise if that goal was delivered early. Ironically, the biggest threat to Mr Murdoch's badly-needed success story also just happens to hail from Australia. Cadel Evans, the 35-year-old from the Northern Territories, might have played second fiddle to Wiggins in the Dauphine but he is in no mood to give up his yellow jersey.
"There are 198 people in the race," Evans said. "Eight of them are my team-mates and everyone else I'll have to beat. Wiggins is one of those."
Anyone hoping to hype things up into an Ashes-style battle is wide of the mark: other contenders include Schleck's older brother Frank, Jurgen van den Broeck and Robert Gesink; while two of Wiggins' strongest supporters in the mountain stages, Michael Rogers and Richie Porte, are Australian; and his father Gary was an Aussie track rider from Victoria.
Another source of intrigue is whether Sky's ambitions could potentially overreach themselves. As prestigious as the presence of Mark Cavendish might be – the man from the Isle of Man is the fastest sprinter of his generation and the holder of both the green jersey for the Tour's points leader and rainbow jersey of the world road race champion – it could be a headache at times for team principal Dave Brailsford and directeur sportif Sean Yates.
If Cavendish can win "just" three more stages, he will have won more than anyone else in history. And although Sky's nine-man team for the event has placed the emphasis on Wiggins' attempt on the GC, they have hedged their bets by including versatile riders such as Rogers, Norway's Edvald Boasson Hagen, and Kanstantsin Siutou of Belarus, who are also capable of leading out Cavendish in a bunch sprint. The suggestion is that the Manx rider, after a couple of early stage wins, may opt out of making it to Paris, but Cavendish is also an unorthodox character who doesn't always conform to the script.
There is one last rider to insert: Wiggins isn't the only Brit who could be considered a potential winner. Kenyan-born Chris Froome's second-place finish in the 2011 Tour of Spain is still Sky's best Grand Tour finish, and he could yet end up in the polka dot jersey of the King of Mountains or yellow. But, in all likelihood, this is Wiggins' big moment. After yesterday's prologue, he has only 3491km to go.