Adam Yates (Orica-BikeExchange) has been cautious not to take anything for granted throughout this year's Tour de France, but he can relax now with his fourth place and white jersey all but won. Yates must still ride into Paris tomorrow, something that is not a given when you consider the tricky cobbles of the Champs Elysees, but he can be fairly confident of stepping onto the podium in the French capital on Sunday evening.
Walking through the mixed zone behind the podium, Yates was visibly more at ease than previous days, perhaps feeling the relief of finish line approaching. "We've still got one more day to go and anything can happen," Yates said with a laugh when one reporter commented that his white jersey was confirmed.
"I'm super happy with how I've gone. After my bad day yesterday, I wasn't sure how the legs would respond but I recovered well, and here we are. I've got the white jersey and fourth place overall. Obviously, I didn't get the podium but it's only my second Tour de France, and I hope that I'll be back and I can go one step further."
As he has made sure to point out, this is just Yates' second Tour de France after making his debut last season. Despite the inexperience, his has been an assured performance even when he had to endure such things as an inflatable banner collapsing on his head.
- Froome set to win 2016 Tour de France ahead of procession to Paris
- Tour de France: Stage 20 finish line quotes
- Tour de France stage 20 highlights - Video
Until Friday's penultimate mountain stage, he had been on course for a podium finish but slipped down after suffering on the final climb. In the end, he was just 19 seconds off the last podium spot, but he says that there is no disappointment for him.
"We came here not really riding for the GC, and it kind of just happened," he said. "I wouldn't say we were disappointed; it's just one of them things and all of the guys ahead of me have ridden Grand Tours before they've all ridden the GC before, especially at the Tour de France. The future is ahead of me, and I'm sure I'll be back fighting for that podium.
"Other than my bad day yesterday I had a super Tour. I recovered well after yesterday. Obviously, I didn't attack or anything today, but I think that everybody was on the limit, and nobody wanted to attack today. I'm pretty satisfied with holding on and finishing where we started."
Yates is in good company as the winner of the white jersey with Alberto Contador, Marco Pantani, Laurent Fignon and Greg LeMond among the riders who have donned it since its inception in 1975. Six riders have won both the white jersey and the yellow jersey during their career and Yates hopes to be one of those in the years to come.
"Hopefully, in the future, I can challenge for the yellow jersey," said Yates. "I'll try my best. It's hard to say; you never know what will happen in the future. I'm going to continue working hard and doing everything possible to improve and hopefully, it's enough for the yellow jersey, but we'll see."