Yates’ white jersey, and fourth place overall, point to a very bright future – and all done without any pressure from his team initially to go for the GC.
His attack on stage seven may have been curtailed by the freak collapse of the flamme rouge but it was a sign Yates could compete with the very best – and was willing to attack them.
Yates followed that with a string of impressive performances in the mountains, not least riding away from Nairo Quintana – supposedly the most natural climber of all the GC men – on Finhaut-Emosson.
Meanwhile, Dan McLay, on his Tour de France debut with Fortuneo-Vital Concept, proved he could mix it with the big-name sprinters.
McLay’s third place behind Cavendish and Marcel Kittel on stage six was surely a sign of things to come for the 24-year-old. While fellow young sprinters Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Bryan Coquard (Direct Energie) were bragging about their sprinting prowess, without backing it up with stage wins, McLay was quietly getting decent results and putting himself in the shop window with four top-ten finishes.
And when the chips were down, McLay proved his Tour quality in the mountains, too. While the likes of Froome, Yates and Cummings were starring at the front of the race, McLay dug deep to finish inside the time cut and make it to Paris.
McLay was the last rider home on Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc, but did so just in time as he went on to become just the 38th different British rider to finish the Tour de France.