Chris Froome was one of the few riders to use a full time trial bike and disc wheel during Thursday's Tour de France mountain time trial - a move that paid off

After winning the Sallanches-Megève time trial and pushing his overall lead in the Tour de France out to almost four minutes, Chris Froome revealed that he had initially wanted to tackle the hill-climb course with a road bike rather than the full time trial set-up with which he tackled the 17-kilometre course.

“I think a big part of today’s stage was selecting the right equipment and having the disc wheel and the tri-spoke made a big difference. I’m extremely grateful to the team behind me who help me to make those kind of decisions. When I looked at the parcours I thought I should use a road bike,” said Froome.

Chris Froome on stage 18 of the 2016 Tour de France

Chris Froome on stage 18 of the 2016 Tour de France. Photo: Yuzuru Sunada

“But after their analysis of it, we decided to go with the full TT set-up. Pinarello have managed to save a lot of weight with the new TT bike, so I was able to use the TT bike and not worry about it weighing nine kilos when I was on the climb.”

Froome refused to admit that the battle for the yellow jersey is now over. He stressed the difficulty of the two mountain stages that lie ahead and said his focus during them will be “staying safe”.

Asked about who he regards as the strongest contender among the half-dozen riders battling for the second step on the podium, Froome picked out BMC Racing’s Richie Porte.

“Obviously Richie did a very strong time trial today and he was really the only one to take the race to me yesterday and make a really strong pace on the front, so in my opinion Richie looks like the one with the most to gain these next couple of stages,” Froome said of his close friend and former teammate.

“He had some bad luck earlier in the race and it’s a shame that he lost that time earlier on, but I believe if he continues in the way he’s going we’ll see him on the podium in Paris.”