The 23-year-old was not as comfortable on the longer climbs that featured in stage six today as yesterday’s punchier run where he finished third behind race leader Chris Froome (Sky) and Richie Porte (BMC).
Still, Yates stayed with the main group in the 141km queen stage from La Rochette to the category one uphill finish in Méribel, which Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) won, and sits seventh overall with one day remaining.
“Today we did, what, it says there 4400m climbing in 145km, so that’s 2000m more climbing than yesterday and a similar distance. It was much tougher out there,” he said, pointing to his power meter.
Watch: Yates v Yates
“I never feel as good on them [long climbs]. Like yesterday, you’re six kilometres from the finish line and you do the first couple of kilometres and you’re near the top, so you’re not thinking about it. Whereas today, you do six kilometres and you’ve got another six kilometres to go.
“With the way the stage went, with [Alberto] Contador attacking all the time, it was real tough and the last climb I had nothing to really offer. I was just on the wheel trying to hold on to the finish.
“If you feel good you can do something but the past few days I’ve just been following. Hopefully, I feel better tomorrow and I can actually attack and try and gain some seconds back.”
Yates rolled in one minute and 17 seconds behind Pinot for eighth today and is one minute and two seconds in arrears of Froome on the general classification.
Asked if he would have to learn to adapt to longer ascents, the burgeoning climber bound for the Tour de France next month said it was difficult to do.
“It’s hard to train on the long climbs all the time, even back in Girona,” he said. “There’s not many 20km climbs. There’s a lot of 10km climbs, a lot of 5km climbs but 20km you have to be in the Alps or Pyrenees.
“I wouldn’t say I’m atrocious at climbing the longer ones but I just much prefer the shorter ones. Mentally it’s that confidence to attack and be up there with the best guys in the world, then it makes a big difference.
“Tomorrow [Sunday] is a little bit more suited to me, a bit more like yesterday, shorter, so we’ll give it a go.”
The Dauphiné finishes on Sunday with a 151km run from Le Pont-de-Claix to Superdevoluy.