Rein me in if you can, rivals told by Briton

 
Frank Dalleres
Follow Frank
Chris Froome
BULLISH Chris Froome has challenged his Tour de France rivals to step up after the British rider finished the first week in a commanding position.

Froome retained the yellow jersey and increased his lead over key rivals Alberto Contador, Nairo Quintana and Vincenzo Nibali after Team Sky finished a close second in yesterday’s time trial in Brittany.

“This first phase of the race has gone better than any of us could’ve imagined,” said the 2013 Tour winner. “It’s for the other guys to try to get the jersey from me now and for us potentially to be riding more of a defensive race.”

Froome’s closest challenger in the general classification is American Tejay van Garderen, whose BMC Racing won the final stage before the first rest day by 0.62 seconds from Team Sky.

The Briton leads two-time winner Contador by one minute and three seconds, Colombian Quintana by one minute and 59 seconds, and defending champion Nibali by two minutes and 22 seconds.