It's been a fascinating edition of the Tour de France thus far, and the GC contenders think so too. Here's their view on the first week of the race and the days to come.

Froome: it's all about the final four days

"There are going to be several quite decisive stages in the Tour, especially the time trial, which will be pivotal. Also looking to those last stages - 17, 18, 19 and 20 - that’s where the race will be won and lost.”

Tuesday 12 Jul 2016

“I’d love to win on Ventoux, where some of the mythic riders in cycling have won, but Froome is also strong. We have to see how the other rivals are. We don’t want to lose our heads, and use up our strength, and then let others take advantage.

"I am well-prepared. I am sure [Froome and I] will meet in a ‘mano a mano’ duel, and the legs will decide.”

“I know him well, I rode in the [Sky] team. But there’s no favours up there. People say I didn’t attack him yesterday, which is just rubbish. “I guess people just don’t quite understand how it is when you’re on the limit — it’s just not always possible to keep attacking.”

"Racing the Tour a few times in the past has helped me choose the best approach for this edition.

"I separated myself mentally from all the frenzy that surrounds it and this helped me take the pressure off. Best thing is to take it day by day and don't think too much about the future.

"I'm third at the moment, but that doesn't mean anything. I will not get carried away and begin thinking of finishing on the podium. If next week I'll be in the same position, then maybe we will sit down and talk about my chances of coming on in the top three."

"Ventoux will be a key moment. It is a very long ascent with an intense heat. It will be the perfect timing for GC contenders to strike a decisive blow.

"I climbed it only once in 2013 and it's not my favorite climb. Until Chalet Reynard it is really hard but then, it is painful anyway. I trained on the Ventoux in June and it was the right thing to do to be prepared."

"It will be the sequence of Ventoux and a time-trial that will be decisive for the general classification."