The Tour de France heads into the Pyrenean mountains this Thursday and Friday before the final week in the Alps. Froome leads by a healthy 5-15 minutes over Contador in 12th, but refuses to take that lead for granted.
“Alberto has had a tough race up until now, he’s lost more than five minutes,” Froome said of Contador, who crashed in stage nine.
“OK, he’s not someone I would have to race straightaway if he did move but we’ve seen Alberto’s style of racing, he’s never shy to have an attack from far out. I think a stage like we have on Friday, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Contador attacking on the first climb. We’re ready for that.”
Froome says he is ready for Contador’s moves, especially in the short and punchy stage to Foix on Friday. After a summit finish to Peyragudes on Thursday, the Tour peloton faces a 101-kilometres stage with three category one climbs and a descent finish to Foix.
Sky’s British captain lost control of the Vuelta a España on a similar stage in 2016. Contador exploded the race and Quintana followed for an all day battle to Formigal.
“That’s exactly the point, I think lessons have been learned, most notably from that Vuelta short stage that came after the queen stage last year,” Froome said.
Critics blasted Sky for not having men around Froome in that moment in northern Spain. Froome chased alone and Quintana gained enough time to hold him in the time trial and win the Vuelta.
Watch: Tour de France 2017 week two preview
“I think we’ve got a very different team here in the Tour de France and I find it very hard to see that scenario happening again. For sure when we’re on the start line on Friday, it will be at the forefront of my mind.
“I can’t see it happening again but this is the Tour de France and anything can happen, you’ve got to be ready for it.”
Despite being 34, Contador remains one of the cagiest cyclists in the peloton. He won seven Grand Tour victories and this spring, placed second in Paris-Nice, the Volta a Catalunya and the País Vasco stage races.