The Australian WorldTour team came into the Tour de France declaring that they'd be pursuing an attacking strategy, looking at stage wins as their first priority rather than an unlikely tilt at the yellow jersey with climbing pair Adam Yates and Esteban Chaves.
Yates had come into the race with questions over his preparation after a bout of persistent gastroenteritis kept him from training properly in July, with his lack of condition evident in the early stages of the Critérium du Dauphiné. He has since been very impressive however, with his top performance coming on Stage 2 where he escaped with Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) and Marc Hirschi (Team Sunweb), finishing third.
He was quieter on the Stage 4 finish, where he finished in the front group, tenth behind stage winner Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma). He remains second on the general classification, four seconds adrift of race leader Alaphilippe.
"It was a hard day in general," said Yates, "all the climbs were ridden at a hard pace and in the final, the last kilometre, two kilometres the pace was really on, so it would have been tricky to try something.
"In the end I think I finished top-10, so not a perfect day, but all in all we can be satisfied. Like I said, it’s been a hard day and we were up there with the best. So, day by day."
It wouldn't be the first time that Mitchelton-Scott have done a general classification bid by stealth with Adam Yates. In 2016 the team were constantly saying that he wasn't there to challenge for the Tour overall, all as Yates rode to fourth and a white jersey victory.
Esteban Chaves hasn't ever quite reached the heights of his 2016 Grand Tour campaigns at the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a Espana, but the smiling Colombian is showing signs that he is nurturing some good condition at present. In lead-up races at the Vuelta a Burgos and the Tour of Poland he finished fourth and 11th overall respectively.
In the Stage 4 finish, Chaves wasn't close to matching the kicks to the line of Slovenian pair Roglič and Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates).
"There were six strong guys on the front, so all day we were going pretty fast in just one line, all day," said Chaves. "The guys did a really good job to look after myself, and to look after Adam in the final.
"I prefer steeper (climbs), because when it’s five, six per cent like this you climb with a big gear and it’s for strong guys, and everyone now has fresh legs, it’s stage four. So, normally I need climbs steeper or longer, which will come later in the race."
Chaves sits eighth on the general classification after the stage, 17 seconds behind the race lead.
The Tour de France continues with Stage 5 from Gap to Privas, with a slight uphill sprint to the line at the finish. The race action starts on the SBS ŠKODA Tour Tracker from 9.00pm AEST, with coverage beginning on SBS HD and SBS On Demand from 9.30pm.