Yates showed top form all week long in France. He put himself in position to challenge the GC with a top-five finish in the time trial on day four. Riding a CADEX Aero WheelSystem including a full disc rear and 4-spoke front wheel, the Brit finished fifth in his first TT effort of the year.
“It’s really fantastic [the new equipment] and an unbelievable difference,” Yates said after the TT stage. “I’m pretty happy with that obviously, it’s the best TT I’ve done for a while.”
The final stage tested riders with steep climbs and cold, wet weather conditions. Yates proved his perseverance, staying with the leaders throughout the 116km stage with five categorized climbs and then launched the winning move on the final climb, the Col d’Éze.
Yates started the day 47 seconds behind race leader Primo Roglic. Riding with his CADEX 42 Road WheelSystem, he gained a 25-second advantage on the climb, but was outnumbered by two Jumbo-Visma riders, Roglic and Wout van Aert, on the final descent to the finish.
“It’s always in the back of your mind [winning the overall], but I always knew on the downhill I would lose some time just because I’m not a very big guy and with the two guys working behind it was always going to be a difficult task,” Yates said. “It was very difficult [with the weather conditions], but I’ve had some experience here in the past with the rain, so I was prepared for it."
The stage win was a boost to Yates’s confidence as he how looks ahead to his main goal for the season, the Giro d’Italia in May.