The weather held off just enough for Froome to beat the Spaniard Contador, who had taken a much more aggressive approach to the mountainous time trial route on slick roads with rain falling intermittently.
With Bauke Mollema well off the pace, Contador moves into second place but his deficit to Froome now stands at four minutes 34 seconds heading into today’s double ascent of the Alpe d’Huez.
The weather had threatened to play a major role as it began to rain on the mountain tops midway through the day. Contador was in attack mode, frequently out of the saddle and ahead of Froome through all three intermediate checkpoints.
But where Contador stuck with his road bike throughout, Froome had changed to his time trial bike midway through the stage and was 20 seconds quicker than his rival over the final 13 kilometres.