Sean Yates is a man who knows a lot about how to win the Tour de France. He's a former teammate of Lance Armstrong and was a key member of backroom staff at Discovery and Astana during their glory days. Most famously, he is also the man who guided Bradley Wiggins to his 2012 Tour victory with Team Sky.
Yates is now directeur sportif at Tinkoff, overseeing Alberto Contador's bid to win a third Grand Boucle. He's insistent that there's only one way to beat defending champ and hot favourite Chris Froome and the black aramada of Team Sky: take the race to them.
"The general consensus, which is logical, is that you can't sit back and let Sky dictate things. They have the defending champion, the guys have shown great form this year," said Yates before the race's second stage.
"It's not only us who have to take the race on, it's obviously the likes of BMC and Movistar. That might profit us and maybe profit Movistar more."
Yates added that the first mountain stage will be crucial, as this is where Froome likes to set his marker and open a time gap that he can defend to the end of the race.
"The most important thing is that we don't concede too much time on the first mountain stage as it happened in previous years," Yates said. "That's what (Miguel) Indurain would do back in the day: take a chunk of time in the first time trial or the first mountain stage. It's important to recoup that, to minimise the losses and take our chance to take time."
Leaving everything to the last minute is no option, either.
"In my opinion it's better to throw caution to the wind like Alberto has done on multiple occasions and reap the possible benefits," said Yates.
"Everyone is kind of scared sometimes of losing what they've got but nothing ventured nothing gained. The ultimate price is first place."
Yates was speaking after Contador's crash on Stage 1, but before Contador lost 45 seconds to his rivals after a second incident yesterday. Porte also suffered misfortune on the run-in to the stage finish on Stage 2, with a puncture and slow wheel change costing him 1 min 40.
Yates's words will have extra weight for both riders. as they will need to take every opportunity possible to overturn their respective deficits if they are to stand any chance of standing on the top step in Paris instead of Froome. Perhaps we will even see them try their luck on flat stages like today's: after all, anything can happen in the Tour de France.