Adam Yates was already showered and waiting for his team-mates to finish washing before their transfer to the hotel, when Mitchelton-Scott got the call that their British rider had taken the yellow jersey.
Trailing Julian Alaphilippe by four seconds at the start of the day, he and Yates finished on the same time, but an illegal feed in the closing kilometres saw the Frenchman receive a time penalty, boosting Yates up into first place at the 2020 Tour de France.
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“I don’t think anyone wants to take the yellow jersey like this,” Yates said, slightly shellshocked. “You want to do it by winning or taking time.
“I was on the bus, already showered, waiting for the last few guys to finish showering and then we’d have been going to the hotel but somebody called our director and told me we might have yellow so we had to head to the podium.”
Arriving at the podium, Alaphilippe then explained to Yates what had happened.
“I only found out when I asked Julian what was going on and he said he had a time penalty for taking a feed, or something like this, late on in the stage, and I don’t know what happened,” Yates continued, then saying he will wear the yellow jersey on stage six despite the circumstances of how it found its way onto his shoulders. “I mean probably, I’m pretty sure I’ll get fined if I don’t so I guess I’ll have to.”
Alaphilippe has said he was at the Tour for stage wins despite finding himself in yellow, and Yates says that is his plan too, taking the race lead doesn’t change that.
“We’re here for stages, we’re not here for GC. I just want to get involved, be aggressive on the stages and try and win. I mean we’ll still try tomorrow, being in yellow and being in the lead doesn’t really change anything, we’ll just go after it like we would normally,” Yates said, adding the only difference is that he may be marked more in the final.
“I came close to wearing yellow before, in 2016 when the motorbike incident happened with Froome. Similar sort of situation, it’s happened to me twice now. I’d rather do this and get yellow with my legs than anything so I think we’ll take it stage by stage and see how it goes from there.”