Mitchelton-Scott's Adam Yates was the only rider capable of trying to break the stranglehold that race leader Primoz Roglic's Jumbo-Visma team had on the final climb of the Grand Colombier on stage 15 of the Tour de France on Sunday. The British climber's move with seven kilometres to go only lasted for around a kilometre before he was brought to heel once more by the Dutch team, but Yates finished the stage strongly in eighth place, and has moved up to fifth overall as the Tour begins its final week.
Yates had held the yellow jersey from stage 5 of this year's race after Deceuninck-QuickStep's Julian Alaphilippe lost the lead as a result of being handed a time penalty for taking a drinks bottle inside the final 20km of the stage, and Yates kept the lead until stage 9, when it was taken by Roglic, who's held it ever since.
However, Yates has remained in contention for the general classification, despite his assertion ahead of the race that his goal at the Tour this year was to try to take stage wins.
"I wanted to try something just before the rest day [on Monday], and as I'm getting better day-by-day, and I didn't want it to come down to the last kilometre or two," Yates said on his team's website following his attack on stage 15 on Sunday.
"The previous days, I've waited and really suffered just to hold the wheel," explained the 28-year-old, "so I went and tried to get over the steep bit and onto the flatter section to get a bit of a rest, but Jumbo-Visma weren't happy with me trying anything, so they just brought me back."
The stage saw defending Tour champion Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) and Arkéa-Samsic's Nairo Quintana fall away from overall contention on the Grand Colombier, and Yates moved up from seventh overall to fifth, now 2:03 off the lead of Roglic, but only 18 seconds off Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) in fourth place, while Trek-Segafredo's Richie Porte is only 10 seconds behind Yates in sixth place.
"I think, all-in-all, the sensations are good," he said. "We'll have a good rest day, and hopefully we'll have some good stages in the Alps."
Yates – whose twin brother, Simon, is currently leading the Tirreno-Adriatico stage race in Italy, with one stage remaining – will leave Mitchelton-Scott for Ineos Grenadiers from 2021, joining the likes of Bernal, Geraint Thomas and Richard Carapaz at the British WorldTour team.