GC contenders knew before the stage that it would kick off on the first Pyrenean climbs of this year’s race, and after Jumbo-Visma turned the screw on the Port de Balès, the attacks came thick and fast on the Col de Peyresourde.
“The climb was pretty hard, we let the break go from the beginning and then Jumbo-Visma took it from quite a way out and I tried to hang on for as long as possible,” Yates said of the race up until the Port de Balès.
“[Then] we got to the bottom [of the Peyresourde] and I felt okay and then Dumoulin set a very fast pace. I had to pull out and ride at my own pace, came back in my own time, and then managed to stay with them over the top.”
Yates maintains a three-second lead over Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) in the overall classification and says he’s now not going to “throw away” the yellow jersey.
“I just want to take it day by day,” the Mitchelton-Scott rider said. “It’s pretty hard to throw away the lead, it’s not every day you lead the Tour de France, I’m not going to throw it away, I’ll try and keep it for as long as possible.
“And if that time comes and I lose the jersey and I lose a lot more time, then I’ll start going for stages.”
Should Yates survive another day in the Pyrenees on stage nine, he could keep yellow for most of the second week, at least until stage 15 when the race tackles the Grand Colombier.