Where to start? Well, what about Mick Rogers. The powerful Australian was the difference - for two quite simple reasons.
Firstly: he no longer rides for Sky.
Secondly: he's now one of Alberto Contador's Saxo-Tinkoff team-mates.
Sky had their moment in the sun last Saturday en route to Ax 3 Domaines. One day later it was Movistar's turn in the firecracker of a stage to Bagneres-en-Bigorre. Then, on Friday the Thirteenth, it was a nightmare day for both those tired outfits as Saxo-Tinkoff ramped up their assault on the general classification just as we approach the business end of the 2013 Tour.
Omega Pharma-Quick Step and Belkin had set the scene perfectly with their successful efforts to distance Marcel Kittel and Alejandro Valverde in the splits brought about by fierce crosswinds.
What had started off as a move motivated by Mark Cavendish's desire to distance the man who beat him one day earlier had morphed into something that was having serious bearing on the general classification.
A dud back wheel (not punctured, it turned out, but simply broken) cost Valverde his chance to win the Tour. Heck, it cost him the chance to podium - probably even to finish in the top ten.
But that looked like the extent of the bloodbath. Until, with 32km remaining, Saxo struck the killer blow with a blunt Australian weapon.
It was Rogers, the man who last year was sniffing out similar scenarios for Sky in support of Bradley Wiggins and Froome, who took the initiative.
In a split second he noticed a small echelon was forming on the front of the already decimated pack - and that the yellow jersey was out of position and isolated.
Rogers, Contador and four other Saxo-Tinkoffs took out their hammer... and BAM.
As Cavendish wonderfully said in his post-stage winning interview: "When echelons form it's similar to falling through ice... you've got five seconds to save yourself or it's all over."
Now when you fall in ice, the best thing is to have a friend who can pull you out. Cavendish had Michal Kwiatkowski. Froome was mateless. Edvald Boasson Hagen would have been game - but the Norwegian powerhouse is out with a broken shoulder. Vasil Kiryienka also would no doubt have stretched out an arm into the icy waters of echelon ignominy - but he too was only watching on TV.
Once the gap formed, it was always an uphill struggle for Sky. Richie Porte had already drowned. Siutou had gone numb. Stannard was shivering off the pack with the ice cracking under his feet. Thomas did his best with some towels and a wetsuit, but it wasn't enough.
Someone like Rogers wouldn't have let the split happen for Froome. Yet Sky did not prolong his contract and instead he became an Inside Man for Saxo. (Let's forget the controversial timing of Rogers's departure for a moment - after all, having wind does not necessarily mean you've just eaten beans).
Rogers was the lynchpin, but the move still had Contador's stamp all over it. The Spaniard has become less explosive since he went vegetarian but he's certainly got more tactically aware.
In last September's Vuelta, Contador secured the red jersey with a team jump on a stage where no one expected any fireworks.
This July, he could well have done the same thing on the Tour. While we were waiting for Sunday's showdown on Mont Ventoux, Contador has stolen a march on his big rival Froome two days earlier.
This was the Contador of old shining though as he rallied the break, and pushed both Belkin and OPQS to ride in support of his Saxo team-mates so that, ultimately, they could share the spoils. It was Alberto the patron - someone we haven't seen in France since 2010.
With Sky looking about as convincing as Cofidis right now, and Movistar reduced to placing all their eggs in the basket marked Quintana, the pendulum has really shifted in favour of Saxo-Tinkoff.
Sure, Belkin are there - and Mollema is having the ride of his life - but the Alps may prove too much for Laurens Ten Dam, while regarding Mollema, who knows how the legs of a rider who has only ever finished 70th in a Tour will react to the multitude of high-altitude attacks next week?
Saxo, with a Contador in the ascendency and a Kreuziger revelling in his role as deputy, are riding into form at just the right moment. And you get the impression that Froome will have to take them on alone.
Making things extra spicy ahead of the weekend: Sky and Saxo are staying in the same hotel on Friday night. There may be some awkward moments if Dave Brailsford gets into the lift with Mick Rogers...
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "We couldn't wait. Remember there were a lot of crashes last year and nobody waited for us. This is the Tour de France and I always heard that the Tour waits for no one and that's the same for Valverde, eh? I'm really sorry for him that he got a puncture but we were racing at the moment." Belkin DS Nico Verhoeven dismisses talk of foul play by his riders in kicking Movistar's Valverde when he was down.
TWEET OF THE DAY: "Bravo Team Saxo-Tinkoff boys! That is the way! I am proud of you. Who told here that SKY is unbeatable, we tore them apart ALREADY, more comes. Alberto stay cool. The team is much stronger than Sky we will f*** them BIG time! Applauds to Bjarne. Tour will be OURS!" Saxo-Tinkoff owner Oleg Tinkov appears to have been on the vodka again.
HOT OR NOT: Seeing that the Tour officials awarded their daily combativity prize to the whole Omega Pharma-Quick Step team, then Saddles will break things into teams for today's rundown of the great and the grim. Given stage 13 was essentially a number of simultaneous team time trials scattered across the road, this probably makes sense.
HOT: Quite simply, OPQS, Belkin and Saxo-Tinkoff for blowing life into a race that was threatening to become one-way traffic - and on a day when we expected nothing. In fact, OPQS deserve an extra pat on the back for making a Cavendish stage win exciting not only in the final 500m but for the entire final 115km.
NOT: Sky look a shadow of the team that controlled the race from start to finish last year with, ironically enough, a leader in Bradley Wiggins whose nervous demeanour is, despite current circumstances, not readily apparent in Froome. Europcar deserve a mention for needlessly contributing to the pace setting, and then ending up with eggs of their faces once Pierre 'Spotted Dick' Rolland punctured.
But Movistar win the Not Prize today for somehow contriving to end the GC chances of not one, but two of their riders - after ordering Rui Costa back to help pace Valverde into the fray. Just one place below eighth-place Nairo Quintana on Friday morning, Costa was set for a top-ten finish but now is almost 15 minutes off the pace. His sacrifice was wholly unnecessary and now leaves the team with just the Colombian card to play.
STAGE 14: SAINT-POURCAIN-SUR-SIOULE - LYON, 191KM
Up-and-down all the way to France's third largest city, this could be the day that Peter Sagan secures the green jersey and gets his second win. With seven lower category climbs on the agenda, Sagan is the only sprinter who stands a chance of getting over them all intact - and OPQS will be knackered after their titanic effort in stage 13.
It's also a stage for the 'baroudeurs' and so don't discount a Thomas Voeckler tongue-spotting - especially seeing that the French veteran has essentially been on a grupetto holiday for the past two weeks. If Ti-Blanc is there, expect to see Johnny Hoogerland plus a load of other French wildcarders in a large escape group to stay out till the end...
PLAT DU JOUR: Lyon is one of the food capitals of the world so it's hard to leave the place without piling on the pounds. Get things started with some 'quenelles' - or fish dumplings - which, despite Lyon's lack of appropinquity to the sea, come heartily recommended. Talking of heart, Lyon is well known for its offal, so a second course of breaded tripe ('tablier de sapeur') may make your mouth water.
In fact, there's one restaurant in Lyon that specialises in all manner of zany things: a chicken cooked inside a sealed pig's bladder, for instance, or a pig's digestive tract filled up with hog blood and cooked like a custard. All these wondrous delights should be accompanied with bottles of Beaujolais Nouveau. Santé!