He walked side by side with seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong during some of the most tense and risky moments of the American's cycling career. But the worst fate Serge Borlee was charged with protecting Armstrong from was not losing the Tour - it was losing his life.
"Some people wanted to hit him. Some people want to kill him. We really had a lot of problems and that is why he needed a person close to him," Borlee, Armstrong's former bodyguard, says.
"With Lance, there were a lot of problems. He was American the war in the Gulf. We had contact with the American Embassy every day, as well as the French Embassy and national security because we had a lot of threats against him."
Working in the Armstrong era taught Borlee, a 51-year-old Belgian policeman, the fine line between a passionate fan and one who aims to do anything but cheer on a rider.
Borlee does not carry a gun on the Tour, but he and Armstrong were always followed by two armed undercover French police.
"Every day, we had to give our position [to the US and French embassies]. Every day, we had a plan. We knew what we had to do," he says.
Armstrong was kept in the dark about the extent of the threats made by telephone, and secretly delivered notes, and the tip-offs from the various security units.
"Lance never knew everything. After the Tour we told him a few things, but not everything," Borlee says.
But there were days when security was increased, such as the time trial stage up the Alpe d'Huez in 2004. The night before, Armstrong - whose unpopularity in France was at its peak at that point - received a number of threats. Barriers were extended to cover the last four kilometres of the stage, and then later to 8km at the team's request. A policeman also followed Armstrong in a team car, while another rode on a motorbike in front of him.
This year, the burly, bald-headed bodyguard may become more conspicuous as the Tour progresses, especially if Cadel Evans emerges from the second of two stages in the Pyrenees on Monday - the 156km stage from Pau to the summit finish of Hautacam - as the likely winner of the 3560km event.
Since the Tour began on July 5, Borlee has taken Evans under his wing and guided him through crowds to podium signings, protected him from the crush of media packs and escorted him to a team car after every stage so he can be whisked away to the team's hotel.
But Borlee is more than a bodyguard. He also doubles as a confidant. His first advice to Evans as they close the car doors each day is to: "Phone his wife [Chiara] and say everything is OK. Then we talk a bit about the race, the weather, the way to the hotel, my son about life. I try to take his mind off off the race, bring him down and relax him."
While Borlee keeps one eye on Evans, he keeps another on any potential danger.
Thankfully, Evans has not done anything to create the security fears that characterised Armstrong's reign at the top. However, even when a rider is adored, the danger of fans becoming overly intrusive can pose a security risk that, unless monitored and controlled, could scupper a Tour favourite's campaign.
In fact, the off-road challenges faced by a Tour favourite are so time-absorbing that having the likes of Borlee assigned as wingman before and after every stage can be the difference between winning and losing.
When it comes to Tour bodyguards, Borlee is the man every top team wants. When he's not on Tour duty, Borlee spends much of his career with the Belgian police special forces going undercover to bust illegal gambling.
Borlee has also worked as the bodyguard for 1997 Tour champion German Jan Ullrich, and last year he protected Kazakhstan's Alexandre Vinokourov, who was kicked off the Tour after testing positive for drugs.
It took Borlee some effort to convince Evans of the value of having a bodyguard, describing him as a "little guarded". However, it didn't take Borlee long to detect one major difference between Evans and Armstrong and Vinokourov. "Cadel is a nicer person than the other two," Borlee says.
But Borlee believes Evans needs a much sharper edge.
"He could be a little more aggressive. He is too nice. It is easier to work [with] him because you don't have so much pressure from the press. But that can change if he takes the yellow [jersey]," Borlee says.
"A lot know Cadel, but don't recognise him easily. If he wears yellow, all of France will know Cadel and want to see him. That will bring a lot of people around the bus and him and then more work for me."