Tarbes - Chris Froome is a more proactive rider than Tour de France rival
Alberto Contador, according to the former's team-mate Nicolas Roche.
The Irishman switched from Contador's Tinkoff-Saxo outfit to Froome's Team
Sky this season and said he's noticed both similarities and differences between
One of the main differences is that Froome is more proactive and Contador
"The differences would be more under personality and the way to
approach the race where we see how relaxed and focused Chris Froome is,"
"You also see it in the way he races, he's a lot more relaxed whereas
Alberto is always worried about making the most of the opponents' weaknesses.
"Froome's got a bit more confidence in his own capabilities and tries
to ride off, whereas you see Alberto quite often tries to attack on a descent
or out of a corner."
Yet according to Roche, both are consummate professionals.
"Both have that similarity in the way that they take everything into
account, they respect every opponent and try to study every opponent as much as
possible, and use their team.
"Because it's also important to have that team around you and to lead
the team, that's the role of the team leader: to have the capability to have
everyone giving 100 percent for him.
"You need to have that charisma and I think Chris is doing that very
Froome certainly showed that in Sunday's team time trial when Roche, 31, the
son of former Tour winner Stephen Roche, was struggling on the final climb to
The Kenyan-born Briton was leading his team up the climb but dropped back
alongside Roche to offer support and encouragement up to the finish.
And while Roche blamed himself for costing his team victory - they missed
out by 0.6 of a second to BMC - Froome praised his team-mate's efforts.
"He gave so much earlier on, you definitely can't put it (losing to
BMC) down to him struggling on the final climb," he said.
Froome and Contador have locked horns before when the Spaniard has often
come out on top, certainly in Grand Tours, while the Sky rider got the better
of the Tinkoff leader in several week-long stage races.
At last year's Vuelta a Espana they went head-to-head for victory with
Contador coming out on top after twice sticking to Froome's back wheel up a
summit finish before accelerating away in the final kilometre.
"Alberto is definitely a guy who races on other people's weaknesses and
waits for a moment when you're exposed and will take full advantage of
that," said Froome.
"Even though he's already lost a small amount of time now, he's
definitely someone who you can't let him get up the road.
"You've got to give him that kind of respect, he has won so many Grand
Tours in the past."
Contador is closest to race leader Froome of the 'fantastic four' rivals at
Reigning champion Vincenzo Nibali has the most ground to make up at 2min 22sec
while Nairo Quintana is at 1min 59sec.
Of those two, Froome says the Colombian climber will be the bigger danger in
"A lot of people expected Vincenzo to make up a lot of time on other
rivals in this first week, as opposed to Nairo where people expected him to
make his time in the mountains," added Froome, the 2013 champion.
"I'd definitely say I expect Nairo will be the guy to look out for more
than Vincenzo in this next stage of the race."