His team boss, though, thinks a top five finish is more likely.
Chavanel caused a surprise when he finished third and on the same time as race favourite Bradley Wiggins in the opening time trial in last Saturday's prologue in Liege.
French fans, desperate for success after a generally woeful few years for their riders in the great race, have high expectations of a similar performance on the 41.5 kms route to Besancon on Monday but a hilly course could count against him.
"I think he has got a bigger chance of top five. But he is going to go for it tomorrow," Omega Pharma - Quick Step sports director Brian Holm said in an interview with Reuters.
"He surprised everyone...in the long time trial at the Dauphine and then he was third in the prologue. Of course he has got a chance of winning but you've got guys like Tony Martin, Bradley Wiggins and Cadel Evans.
"I think he'll be around about there."
Team Sky's Wiggins, bidding to become the first Briton to win the Tour, will be the big favourite for the second time trial of the three-week race when they set off individually from Arc et Senans for the ninth stage.
Chavanel's team mate Martin, the world time trial champion, is hampered by a broken bone in his wrist which is being protected by a plastic guard while overall defending champion Evans has not had a good season.
Olympic champion Fabian Cancellara, who won the Liege time trial convincingly, is not expected to be as effective on the up and down course through eastern France.
Chavanel therefore has a chance of cheering his home fans, who excitedly saw Thomas Voeckler shine in last year's Tour before enduring a disappointing race so far this July.
"I think he has done a pretty good job overall," Dane Holm said of Chavanel.
"He was close in the prologue. I think he is ready."