The 23-year-old ended the three-day tour on Sunday fourth overall after a gutsy showing in the third and final stage where he finished on the podium behind race winner Thomas Voeckler (Direct Energie) and Nicolas Roche (Sky).
Yates appeared to make light of the six categorised climbs that featured on the gnarly 198km run from Middlesbrough to Scarborough, dancing on the pedals until the final 10km where he couldn’t follow the last selections.
“It might have looked like that but I definitely wasn’t. With the wind, it’s not too easy for me, I’m not even 60kg, so as soon as it goes in the gutter I will suffer,” said Yates as he walked to the podium.
“But the guys were awesome today, especially Chris [Juul-Jensen] and Mat Hayman. Every time I went in the gutter they were there. They moved up next to me and just kept me out of the wind all day so it was only the last 20km or so when Roche attacked that I was on my own.”
The performance came at the end of a week Yates’s twin brother, Simon, was embroiled in a TUE (therapeutic use exemption) scandal, which the former would not comment on.
Sky, as expected, took charge of the decisive final stage of the Tour of Yorkshire, present at the front of the pack that regrouped several times throughout.
Roche attacked a reduced group on the Cote de Harewood Dale within the final 30km and Yates was quick to respond with the duo opening a small gap. Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) bridged to the pair soon after and the trio worked together, later joined by Voeckler and Anthony Turgis (Cofidis).
“I didn’t have the punch or power to attack myself so was just holding on towards the end. Overall, the whole race we rode well, the whole team rode well, so we can be happy. Hopefully we’ll take this confidence and, you know, the way we’re riding, into the next part of the season,” he said.
Yates is set to undergo a three-week training camp at altitude before turning his focus to the Criterium du Dauphine and then the Tour de France.
The Briton, his brother, Simon, and Colombian Esteban Chaves, who is set to race at the Giro d’Italia this month, embody Orica-GreenEDGE’s burgeoning Grand Tour title ambitions.
Yates smiled when asked if he had an ideal objective for the 2016 Tour he and his brother are set to compete at.
“I mean, if I can take a stage that will be perfect,” he said. “If I can take two stages that will be even better,” he added in good faith. “That’s what we’re aiming for but it’s not too easy. The Tour is the biggest race in the world.
“Last year’s preparation went pretty good so we will try and follow the same routine and hopefully it comes off.”