After a bruising final stage in the Pyrenees Chris Froome (Team Sky) will be looking to assert a greater level of control over his Tour de France rivals during today's individual time trial to the picturesque spot of Mont-Saint-Michel.
The maillot jaune currently holds a 1:25 lead over Alejandro Valverde and 1:51 over Alberto Contador. However come the end of the 33-kilometre test against the clock, Froome could well be between three and four minutes ahead of his nearest rivals.
"Honestly I've not really thought too much about what to expect from the time trial. I'm just going to go out there and give it absolutely everything," Froome said during his stage 10 press conference, admitting that the responsibility of leading the Tour has been a position he's grown used.
Froome may even win the stage, with Tony Martin still suffering from his crash earlier in the race and a lack of other time trial specialists in the field. However the most important target for the Team Sky leader is gaining time on his overall rivals, and every second gained will alleviate the pressure on his team which struggled to contain Valverde and company on stage nine in the Pyrenees.
"Time trialing is one of those things, whereby the more you do it, the better you get at it. The better you have of your own feelings, your body and your own pace," Froome explained.
A blueprint for the end result may come from last month's Dauphine in which Froome put considerable distance between himself, and his GC rivals.
I know how I got ready for this Tour de France
While Froome has been quizzed on the race he has also been peppered by questions on doping, the shadow of Geert Leinders and cycling's blatantly murky past. Team principal Dave Brailsford has worked hard to soak up as much pressure, perhaps in
light of Bradley Wiggins outburst during last year's Tour in which he hit out at those that questioned him.
Froome, is a different rider to Wiggins both in style and personality but acknowledged that questions, just like the attacks on the road, will keep coming and that until the Tour finishes in Paris he is likely to field both.
"I personally didn't have much contact with Leinders so I can't really comment but naturally people are going to ask questions in cycling given the history, when great performances have been linked with doping in the past," he said on the rest day.
"Naturally we're bearing the brunt of those questions. I feel the sport has moved on and I feel that what I'm doing is right. I know how I've got ready for this Tour de France and I know the stage I won will never be stripped from me. Outside of that I don't know what else I can do."
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Daniel Benson is the Editor in Chief at both Cyclingnews.com and BikePerfect.com. Based in the UK, he has worked within cycling for almost 15 years, and he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he has reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he runs the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.
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