Not many would have expected Adam Yates (Orica-BikeExchange) to finish fourth in the Tour de France and be the first Briton to win the White Jersey.
All in all it was an impressive ride for Yates who at one point was looking at second place; but the last few days he slip down and out of contention, but for him and his plucky Australian team his ride was a real highlight of what has been a entertaining Tour.
The 23-year-old from Bury was always up with the likes of Chris Froome (Team Sky), Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Richie Porte (BMC) and if he had held his nerve and found some last dregs of energy he might have been on a podium place.
It was a ‘dream’ for Yates to ride the Tour de France
The Tour is a pressure cooker, and many riders crumble under the pressure, but for Yates he showed immense maturity for a young GC hopeful.
He might have looked to attack Quintana yesterday but the weather restricted many of the riders fighting for the podium; but Yates said he was content with fourth and a white jersey to boot.
Speaking after stage 20 Yates said: “It was pretty dangerous, you risk it, but you might not even make the time up. I had the legs to stay there, I’m fourth and the white jersey, I’m pretty happy with that.”
Yates has ridden Grand Tours before, but this Tour was an indication that he will be a future contender and if he can hone his skills he will be a real force in years to come.
He said he is still ‘learning’ but what was impressive was his ability to hang tough in the big mountain stages.
“I’ve ridden Grand Tours, but this is the first won for GC. Just coping with the pressure, even if I had some bad days, I managed it quite well,” said Yates of his 2016 Tour experience.
Looking ahead, Yates remains humble saying he will keep working ‘hard’ to achieve his goals, and that his experience this year will help him go ‘one step further’ in coming years.
Yates was Orica’ GC hopes but they might not have thought he would be where he is; but for the Aussie team it is another huge result in one of the Grand Tours; earlier this summer Esteban Chaves’ came second in the Giro d'Italia, and then with the Vuelta a Espana to look forward to they will hope they can spring yet another surprise.