Xabier Zandio's experience should prove invaluable over the next three weeks as Team Sky look to make their mark on the Tour de France.
"There is a great vibe in the team and it makes working in it a pleasure."
The 34-year-old Spaniard, who raced in five successive Tours between 2003 and 2007, will be working primarily for Bradley Wiggins and that support role is one he's filled with distinction during his career.
When asked to nominate his best memories of the Tour, he had no hesitation in saying: "Winning with Oscar Pereiro in 2006; having the jersey, working hard as a team and then winning with him was a great acheivement.
"Also in 2005 I had great form and came close on a couple of occasions to winning a stage [he was 22nd overall and second on stage 16 and fourth in stage 18]."
Zandio started his career with Banesto in 1999 and stayed with the Spanish team right to the end of 2010, through the years of Illes Balears and then Caisse d'Epargne, becoming one of the most respected climbing domestiques on the circuit.
He joined Team Sky for the 2011 season and has been delighted at how quickly he's fitted in, saying: "The transition has been great and much smoother than expected. At the Dauphiné we gelled and showed that we are solid team. There is a great vibe in the team and it makes working in it a pleasure."
That Dauphiné performance saw Wiggins claim the overall victory in fine style and the eight riders who featured now all head onto the Tour de France, with sprinter Ben Swift completing the line up.
Zandio is more than happy to pass on his experience to the likes of Tour debutant Swift and any of the other younger riders, but he also pointed out: "Of course we will always help where possible but those guys are amazingly professional and wouldn’t be here if they hadn’t earned their spot. It's a young but talented team and they are in the team for a reason."
And asked to explain his role out on the road, Zandio said: "It's a varied one and includes fetching bidons and clothing, chasing down breaks, protecting our leaders from the wind and making sure they are in the ideal positions for finishes or at the base of an important climb."
This year's Tour features a particularly tough final week in the Alps but before then Zandio says the early focus will be on this Sunday's team time trial, adding: "The Tour is always very hard indeed and this year is no exception. From a racing perspective it’s the hardest, most hectic and the most tense race of the year.
"For us as a team I would say the TTT is important and of course we have great confidence and motivation for Brad’s GC especially after such a great Dauphiné."
And Zandio was also keen to point out that while the Tour offers a huge test to riders, it's also an event he feels privileged to take part in, explaining: "The Tour is huge and has a phenomenal ambience and history. I also feel there is something special and idyllic about the French countryside in the height of summer that adds and extra dimension and romantic element to the race."