Chris Froome admits he is getting comfortable with being the man to beat after his victory on the fifth stage of Criterium du Dauphine moved him into the overall race lead.
The 28-year-old reacted to an attack from rival Alberto Contador on the Valmorel summit finish, shutting the Spaniard down and riding clear to win by four seconds.
Froome benefitted from the exploits of his Team Sky colleagues who protected him throughout and whittled down the lead bunch into a select group.
Pete Kennaugh and Richie Porte did the work on the latter slopes as Froome took the victory with the latter finishing ninth to move into second overall for a Team Sky one-two.
And Froome, who has already won the Tour of Oman and Tour de Romandie this year, insists he is getting used to being the leader with little over three weeks until the start of the Tour de France.
“It’s a position that I’ve been adjusting to this year. It still feels quite new to have a team of guys riding and sacrificing themselves for you,” said Froome.
“But so far this season the guys have done it throughout my race programme – starting in Oman, Tirreno-Adriatico, Criterium International, Romandie and the Dauphine.
“So naturally they must have some confidence in me. It’s a really good feeling and I feel privileged to be in this position.
“It’s definitely a good gauge for me to be able to test myself against someone like Alberto who has won multiple Grand Tours.
“To be able to finish in front of someone like him definitely gives me a lot of confidence, especially three weeks out from the Tour de France.
“I’m hoping to improve my form before the Tour. I don’t feel that I’m in 100 per cent condition yet but I’m where I need to be at this stage.”
© Sportsbeat 2013