• Chris Froome (C) tucked in nicely behind his teammates during the second stage of the Criterium du Dauphine. (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Chris Froome is becoming accustomed to racing against his former Sky sparring partner Richie Porte as the pair hold steady as opposing title favourites at the Criterium du Dauphine.
Sophie Smith

Cycling Central
8 Jun 2016 - 9:05 AM  UPDATED 8 Jun 2016 - 9:09 AM

The 31-year-old remains third overall behind Porte and race leader Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) after a confident showing in the undulating second stage on Tuesday that Jesus Herrada (Movistar) won.

Froome finished the 168km run from Creches-sur-Saone to the uphill finish in Chalmazel-Jeansagniere in eighth place, just ahead of his primary general classification rivals.

Criterium du Dauphine: Herrada times his attack

Porte famously assisted the Briton to two Tour de France titles at Sky but joined BMC for his own shot at the race this season. The Dauphine serves as key preparation.

“Yeah, [it’s] very different! We still give each respect on the road but it is a bit weird bumping shoulders with him now and having to fight for wheels with him,” Froome said.

Sky unleashed a flurry of attacks toward the end of the second stage with former world champion Michal Kwiatkowski, Mikel Landa, back from illness that foiled his Giro d’Italia campaign, and Sergio Henao testing the chasing peloton.

“We’re not in the leader’s jersey at the moment so we’ve got to try and put pressure on the guys who are defending,” Froome said.

“It’s worth riding an aggressive tactic. We didn’t end up with a stage [win] but I think the guys did really well. It worked out how we wanted.”

The stage did not prove difficult enough for the general classification contenders to have a hit-out although their respective squads rode vigilantly.

“The last few hundred metres there the legs felt good for me so I pushed on,” Froome said.

“[There’s] still a lot of racing to come this week, but from the prologue and from today I’ve got a good feeling about it.”

The Dauphine provides an opportunity for riders to gauge their own form and that of rivals a month out from the Tour, and champion Froome has made some notes.

“From the rivals that we have here, it’ clear that Richie and Alberto are the guys to beat here,” he said. “They’re going extremely well.

“I’ve always had a lot of faith in Richie and I’ve got no doubt he’s going to be tough to beat this week.”