It was never likely to be a quiet return to the race that Lance Armstrong won seven times in succession. Few could have expected, however, the drama that has played out since Armstrong rolled down the start ramp of this year's Tour de France in Monaco on July 5.
It took three days of racing for evidence of a power struggle between Armstrong and teammate Alberto Contador to emerge - a few more days for it to be confirmed - and just 5.7km on a Swiss mountain for it to all but come to close.
Astana polemics aside, three years out of the sport and at the end of stage 16 he's holding onto second place in the Tour. No matter which way you slice it, Armstrong has had an incredible return to France.