It proved to be a mixed finish for Simon Yates (Orica-Scott) as the 24-year-old increased his white jersey lead but conceded time to his general classification rivals. Yates crossed the line in 13th place, four seconds down on new yellow jersey holder Chris Froome (Team Sky), but remains in seventh place overall.
"I lost a couple seconds to the very front guys, but there's not much you can do. They were going really fast. I put a fair bit of time into a few guys behind, which I'm happy with," Yates said after the stage finish. "I knew this climb from a few years ago, we did the same finish in 2015, and I finished really far out the back. Today was much more difficult.
"I think it was a good day all around."
Yates' former teammate Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) took the win ahead of Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) after the frenetic and fast finale into Rodez. Yates explained that like in 2015, positioning was key to the finale and thanked his teammates for keeping him at the front on a day that could have ended his top-ten aspirations,
"There was a little bit of wind about today, and we did a really good job of keeping position," he said. "We were always in the front, if there was ever a slightly dangerous moment, we were there. We really had a greater presence today. I have to thank the boys, they did a fantastic job, not just today but throughout the Tour. They've been fantastic. Another day done."
Sixth overall at last year's Vuelta a Espana, the 2017 Tour is Yates' first riding for the general classification. With two weeks of racing completed, Yates explained the fatigue is starting to set in but he is hoping to maintain his level of what promises to be a testing and tight third week of the race.
"Every day I still feel good, of course I'm getting tired but I think everybody else is," Yates added. "If I can keep these legs until the end, I'll be very happy. There are a lot of tired guys, but I think everyone's pretty happy that most of the hard stages are over."
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