Richie Porte believes his 10th Tour de France will present his biggest challenge.
This is not from the 3470 kilometres or five mountain ranges awaiting at the 107th running of the world's biggest bike race, but the knowledge that he will miss the birth of his second child.
On Saturday, September 12, when wife Gemma is due to deliver a sister for two-year-old Luca in Monaco, Porte will be 500km away racing the 14th stage between Clermont Ferrand and Lyon.
"I think I may be in the Alps or Massif Central around then," said the 35-year-old Launceston rider.
"It's just one of those things but the sacrifice I'm making this year is the biggest I've ever made.
"I've spent many, many hours thinking about it, but it's three weeks of my life I just have to go through and then get to enjoy some family time in October.
"It might seem selfish because it's the best moment of your life to be there when your child arrives, but the team continued to pay us during lockdown, which is a lot more than most teams did, so I do feel I do need to do this race.
"We had a discussion about it and it was not that hard a decision."
With riders facing additional concerns over whether the Tour will finish due to France's ongoing coronavirus situation, Porte is determined to stay positive ahead of the start in nearby Nice on Saturday.
"Becoming a parent definitely changes your priorities in life, puts things into perspective and makes it more difficult to be a professional athlete, but most of my friends in the peloton are in the same boat.
"It's hard to keep going away for training camps and races and when I come back there's a little two-year-old who puts up a barrier that I have to break down each time."
With three podium finishes and a second Tour Down Under title to his name this year, Porte is in excellent form despite the two-pronged advance of both COVID-19 and Old Father Time.
The two-time Paris-Nice champion looks likely to leave Trek-Segafredo when his contract expires at the end of the year and resume a domestique role elsewhere.
But he remains optimistic about his last genuine assault on Le Tour, which begins in his European backyard and promises a gruelling ordeal.
"The first couple of stages are on roads we use for training. The Col d'Eze is just a 25-minute ride back to my place, so it's nice to be starting so close to my adopted home.
"It's been such a topsy-turvy year but the fact that racing is going to happen is brilliant for cycling.
"It's not been a straight-forward year has it? But with a lot of teams really struggling, it is important that we get the race started and this year there will be less crowds and journalists.
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"But still every day at the Tour something happens. There's never an easy stage or a stress-free moment. It's 21 days of constant pressure, but that's what we get paid to do.
"For me personally it would definitely be the hardest last week I've ever seen. Some of the climbs they are using are abnormally steep for the Tour de France. They seem to have found them all for this year's Tour.
"In the first 10 days riders may lose seconds but in the final week they will be losing minutes. It will come down to who is the best and if you run out of fuel in that last week you are really going to pay for it. This is my last Tour de France where I'll go as a leader in a team and am able to try and win the thing. That's a pretty big opportunity in itself.
"I'd love to win a stage, I've only done so as part of a team time trial and it would be cool to have that on my palmares."
The sacrifice I'm making this year is the biggest I've ever madeRichie Porte
Porte believes Colombia's reigning champion Egan Bernal will be hard to beat, even without the support of fellow former winners Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas who did not make the Ineos Tour de France team.
"Bernal is the young superstar of the sport and I think it's his race to lose. At last we have another team (Jumbo-Visma) that can take it up to Ineos, but they are still the smartest team with the best people."
With the remainder of his season set to be dictated by whether one-day classics and world championships go ahead, Porte is conscious that his time at the sport's elite level is limited.
"It feels like I've been a pro for ever but at the end of the day I came to cycling late and had a few normal jobs before this, so to be able to be paid to ride a bike is a privilege, but it's also stressful."