Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) accepts that holding onto the yellow jersey will be a tough order during the Tour de France's stage 8 to Super-Besse. The Norwegian currently holds a one-second lead over Cadel Evans (BMC).
"I'm better in the mountains yes that's true, but I don't think I can get to the finish on Saturday at Super Besse with the yellow jersey," he said in his post-stage press conference after stage 6.
"Super Besse is a very difficult climb and there is a lot of climbing before the final ascent. I remember there is some climbing at eight percent in the final climb - that is really too difficult for me."
Super Besse last appeared in the Tour de France in 2008. That day, Ricardo Ricco won the stage with Hushovd, then at Credit Agricole, finishing more than 17 minutes down. Although this year's path to the climb is less strenuous than the one ridden in 2008, Hushovd will struggle on the nine percent pitches.
Despite what will probably be an inevitable shift in the leader's jersey, Hushovd has been pleased with his Tour so far.
"I came to this stage thinking it was one that I could win - the final suited me, but I was a little bit tired and was missing the little bit I needed to win," he said.
He also praised his teammates, who despite having long term goals of placing a rider in the top 10, have worked at keeping yellow since he assumed the lead.
"So far in this race, I've had all the support I needed since the first stage from the team. The guys have been working really hard for me to stay in yellow and keep me near the front. They've done an incredible job for me. At Cervelo Test Team, they also supported me 100 percent where I thought I could win or the team trusted me."