Yates looked a bit bemused as he took to the podium wearing the yellow jersey, with the expression visible despite his mask obscuring his face. It is the Australian team's first time in yellow since they had a four-day stint in 2013, spread between Australian Simon Gerrans and South African Daryl Impey.
Yates, a British rider on the Australian team, had been sitting in second overall, four seconds behind Alaphilippe, but a penalty for the French star saw Yates move up into the overall lead.
“I don’t think any rider would want to take yellow under these circumstances," said Yates. I’d prefer to take it with my legs rather than the result of a time penalty."
Yates was rushed to the podium after the commissaire decision to penalise Alaphilippe, with the Frenchman taking the news apparently quite well as he cycled off without any obvious show of ill-feeling.
"I didn’t even find out until I was in the bus and showered," said Yates about the penalty for Alaphilippe. "I feel bad for him.”
Yates built his second-place position with his late attack on Stage 2 of the 2020 Tour de France, ultimately finishing third behind Alaphilippe and Marc Hirschi (Team Sunweb), but picking up some bonus seconds to move him ahead of the rest of the general classification contenders.
Mitchelton-Scott came into the race saying that they were going to prioritise stage wins with attacking racing from the likes of Yates, Esteban Chaves and Daryl Impey. The Australian team now finds itself in the yellow jersey however, a golden opportunity to shine in the biggest bike race in the world, which may see some new priorities form.
The next stage is a summit finish on Mont Aigoual, and a host of climbers just behind Yates on the general classification could steal his overall lead.
The Tour de France continues tonight with a 191-kilometre stage from Le Teil to Mont Aigoual, with the broadcast starting from 9.00pm (AEST) on the SBS ŠKODA Tour Tracker App, then from 9.30pm (AEST) on SBS and SBS On Demand.