The riders took centre stage in Brest, France, on Thursday (3rd July) for the 95th Tour de France "Grand Depart" gala presentation.
Organisers claim the 2008 Tour will be a fresh start for the event, but the starting field has already been stripped of some its biggest names - by the drug scandals that have plagued the sport in recent years.
A pair of airborne cycling postmen kicked off the the 95th Tour de France Grand Depart presentation in Brest on Thursday.
Hovered above the ground on wires, the flying 'posties' threw down letters to the crowd, as the field for this year's event was shown off to the public.
The teams literally wheeled themselves onto the stage, one-by-one, to be introduced to the thousands of cycling fans who had gathered outside Brest's Hotel de Ville in south west France.
Among the riders given a heroes welcome was last year's Yellow Jersey runner-up, Cadel Evans.
The Australian has become almost a default favourite for 2008 after last year's winner, Alberto Contador, was excluded from the race along with his team, Astana, as punishment for a fellow cyclist's positive test.
This year's race will be the third in succession where the winner of the previous race will be missing from the field.
The Tour's organisers will be hoping for a blessing from Brest, to cast out the demons of the past two years and perhaps crown a new legend.
Drug scandals saw 2006 winner Floyd Landis stripped of the yellow jersey and 2007 race leader Michael Rasmussen thrown out, within touching distance of the Paris finish line.
The International Cycling Union recently praised the tour's owner, Amaury Sports Organisation, for taking a tough line on who it has allowed to enter after doping scandals dominated the last two Tours.
Evans is hotly tipped after last year's performance with Italian Riccardo Ricco, making his Tour debut, also among the favourites.
Luxembourg's Frank Schleck is the man expected to win the polka-dot jersey for the 'King of the Mountains'.
The course has been revamped - another sign the Tour is trying to start afresh.
For the first time since 1967, there will be no prologue to begin the battle on July 5th.
The pack will dive right into the race from the outset of a hilly 195-kilometre (around 121 miles) first stage before fighting it out at the summit of the Cote de Cadoual.
Time bonuses have been abandoned so it could be a tighter, more dramatic race - especially in the mountains where decisive gaps between riders are often built early on.
A brutal climb up the Alpe D'Huez on stage 17 has the makings for a classic.
There is one more mountain-top finish and fewer time-trials which is not good news for Evans, who is a better time-triallist.
In all, the 2008 Tour de France will feature 10 flat stages, five mountain stages, four medium mountain stages and two individual time-trial stages.
Although it's considered doubtful that the Tour will pass without any drug scandals, after the events of the last two years, organisers and fans will simply be praying the winner wins clean.
SHOTLIST: Hotel de Ville, Brest, France.
1. 00:00 Wide shot of crowd and cycling postman riding on wire in the air.
2. 00:05 Spinning cycling postman throwing out letters to the crowd.
3. 00:13 Various of postmen throwing out letters to the crowd.
4. 00:27 Mid shot band and conductor.
5. 00:33 Various of postmen throwing out letters to the crowd.
6. 00:40 Various of band on stage.
7. 00:51 Wide of stage and audience.
8. 00:56 Tour de France promotional trailer.
9. 01:13 Various of first Tour de France team, Garmin, cycling onto stage.
10. 01:31 Pan of team Euskadi on stage.
11. 01:39 Team Rabobank cycling off stage.
12. 01:44 Wide of crowd.
13. 01:47 Team Cofidis posing for photo.
14. 01:53 Mid shot of team Silence-Lotto on stage.
15. 01:57 Close of Cadel Evans, last year's Yellow Jersey runner up, being introduced to crowd.
16. 02:05 Wide of team Silence-Lotto leaving stage.