Speaking after the finish of stage 17 Contador said Froome, who currently wears the yellow jersey, was the favourite for the overall victory.
“I think the time trial in Marseille [on Saturday] will be very good for Froome. In this moment the favourite is Froome but we don’t know what will happen tomorrow and with the strong team that [Ag2r leader Romain] Bardet has maybe he can do something,” said the Spanish veteran.
Contador had started the Tour at the beginning of July hoping for victory to add to his seven Grand Tour titles. However, he has been off the pace, and hindered by injuries sustained in crashes on stage nine.
At the start of Wednesday’s mountain stage through the Alps, Contador was over seven minutes down in the GC battle and targeting stage wins.
The Spaniard “did a time trial” to bridge up to an early break on the races climb and spent most of the stage at the front of the race with is team-mates Bauka Mollema and Jarlinson Pantano pulling hard to keep the group clear .
Contador attacked on the slopes of the Galibier but was then countered by eventual stage winner Primoz Roglic (LottoNL Jumbo). He ended up being swept up by the group of GC favourites and finished the stage 31 seconds down in eighth place.
He said: “Ok, in the last part of the Galibier I paid for this big effort. I can’t do more, it was a very long stage at 190km, you can’t fight off the peloton.”