The Orica-Scott rider broke free of a diminished group of GC favourites on the second ascent of the first-category Col de Bourigaille, which topped out with 19km remaining, and stretched out his advantage on the descent.
The stage concluded with a brutally steep 1.3km climb to the finish line, and although Yates' 45-second buffer was eaten into, he held on to take his first victory of the season.
Behind him Sergio Henao, whose Sky teammates had set the pace over the preceding climbs, gained time on his GC rivals, finishing second on the stage some 17 seconds behind Yates, while Richie Porte (BMC), already out of the GC picture, took third. Race leader Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) held onto his yellow jersey with fourth on the stage, helped to the line by teammate Dan Martin, though Henao clawed back 20 seconds and looks dangerous with a summit finish to come on stage 7 tomorrow.
Watch how Yates pulled off his solo feat in the video above, and click here to read our full stage report.
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