The Englishman rode as high as second overall, but slipped down two spots over the last two weeks. He missed third place by 21 seconds to Nairo Quintana (Movistar). Sky’s Chris Froome leads the overall by 4-05 over Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale), 4-21 over Quintana and 4-42 over Yates, virtually guaranteeing his third Tour win in four years.
Yates pulled on a fresh white jersey after the wet stage that ended with the Joux Plane climb and a wet descent to Morzine. He, like the others, did not risk an attack.
“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 said
“Every day I’m learning, it’s more experience than learning. I learned to not lose concentration when you are tired. 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.”
Yates, twin brother of Orica’s Simon Yates, already raced the Vuelta a España and last year’s Tour. He began this year’s edition to race for a stage win, but that idea quickly changed when he sat second overall as early as stage seven to Lac de Payolle.
“I’m fourth. For a lot of people it’s a dream to ride the Tour de France, but for me to come top 10 or five, I’m super happy. I learned a lot that will help me in the future. To help me go one step further,” Yates said.
“It’s only my second Tour de France and I’m only 23. I learned some lesson and gained some experience.”
Yates will become the first Brit to win the Tour’s white jersey of best young rider if he finishes the race tomorrow in Paris. He is already planning what to do next.
“I need to put work on my time trialling, riding on the flats, a bit of everything,” Yates said.
“It’s hard to say [if I can win the overall one day], anything can happen. I’ll keep working hard and training hard, I’m sure I’ll be back in the future to go that one step further.
“I see that ‘Froomey’ is a big step ahead, but most of the other guys are close. So it’s just about having the legs and looking for the ways to gain time on your rivals.”