The race leader dismisses talk that he doesn't have any real rivals for the overall lead in the third week of the 2016 Tour de France
The race heads towards the Alps with an all Swiss stage to the summit finish at Finhaut Emosson on Wednesday, before an uphill time trial and two big Alpine days to Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc and over the Col de Joux Plane to Morzine prior to the arrival in Paris.
Yellow jersey Froome managed to navigate Monday’s stage to Bern safely in the main pack as the peloton split on the final cobbled climb, and says that the upcoming week will be “a tricky four days” to stay on top of.
“The main thing for me and for Team Sky [today] was just to get me to the finish in one piece, hopefully not taking any gaps to my rivals or anything like that,” Froome said.
“So thankfully it’s a day we can tick-off now and I think everyone is pretty grateful that we’ve got a rest day tomorrow and we’ll look forward to Alps in the next few days.”
“I am looking at it as a four day block,” he added, “four very tricky days.
“Each day is different and has it’s own challenges. Obviously the time trial is quite important, but each day is extremely challenging, so it’s definitely in my opinion a four day block, as opposed to picking one day to really go hard on more than the other ones.”
Froome continues to lead the race by 1-47 over Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) in second, with no-one able to break his lead (or even really try to) on the most recent mountain day on stage 15 to Culoz.
While fellow Brit Adam Yates (Orica-BikeExchange) in second place has only really looked to consolidate his deficit of so far to Froome at 2-45.
Monday morning’s headline on French newspaper L’Equipe read ‘Sans Rivals’; that no-one is able to touch Froome at the top of the overall classification. However that was a notion Froome was quick to quash as the race heads into it’s climax this week.
“I don’t agree [with the headline],” said Froome. “Other teams have said they’re going to attack this week in the Alps and I expect they will do.
“To say that the Tour is done and to say that the Tour is won, that’s rubbish.
“A lot can happen in four days; four days in the mountains. All you need is one bad day and you can lose minutes.”