Tour de France 2015: Chris Froome says pressure is on rivals

Chris Froome
Froome won the Tour de France in 2013

Britain's Tour de France leader Chris Froome says the pressure is on his rivals ahead of the first mountain stage on Tuesday.

The 2013 champion leads American Tejay van Garderen by 12 seconds after nine stages.

Froome, 30, has also built leads over two-time winner Alberto Contador, Nairo Quintana and defending champion Vincenzo Nibali.

"It's for the other guys to try to get the jersey from me now," he said.

The Team Sky rider added: "This next phase of the race the pressure's certainly not on my shoulders to be making the race and to be having to try to take time back from anyone."

The Tour has a rest day on Monday before moving to the Pyrenees and Tuesday's ascent to La Pierre Saint-Martin.

Froome says the race "couldn't have gone better" following the first week, despite Team Sky finishing second to van Garderen's BMC Racing during Sunday's 28-kilometre ninth stage team time-trial.

He leads Contador by 63 seconds while Quintana is one minute 59 seconds back and Nibali two minutes 22 seconds off the pace.

"It's one thing not to lose any time to your rivals, but to actually gain quite substantial amounts of time on quite a lot of contenders has really put us in a fantastic position," Froome added.

Van Garderen, 26, who finished fifth overall last year, admits he is "irritated" to not be considered a major contender for the title alongside Froome, Nibali, Contador and Quintana.

He said: "Those guys have that tag, the fab four, which is getting a little irritating.

"All those guys in the fab four have won Grand Tours. If I'm not spoken about as much as those guys are, I understand.

"That doesn't mean I'm going to be intimidated by them."