Adam Yates declared himself “proud” of his efforts at this year’s Tour de France after coming ninth overall in the world’s most iconic race.

The 28-year-old Bury star took the yellow jersey on stage five and wore it for four stages.

He then battled at the front of the field for the remainder of the gruelling race as Tadej Pogacar claimed overall victory after his friend and fellow Slovenian Primoz Roglic crumbled on Saturday’s time trial.

For Yates however there was plenty of satisfaction about a job well done.

“All-in-all I think we can be happy,” the Mitchelton-SCOTT man, who will join Team Ineos next year, said.

“As we said at the very beginning we never came here with ambitions of riding the general classification and in the end we came out with a top-10 in the biggest bike race in the world.

“The whole race we rode well as a team and stayed focused throughout and I think we can be proud of what we did here.”

An unconventional start for the Tour de France saw mountains appear on the course almost immediately, and prompted a plan for an aggressive start.

On just the second day, in Nice, Yates saw his opportunity to jump off the front on the final climb, collect intermediate bonus seconds and finish third on the stage to sit second overall, four seconds down on Julian Alaphilippe.

Expecting to wait until the summit finish on stage six for an attempt to take the jersey, the honour came 24-hours early when Alaphilippe took an illegal feed in the final 20km.

Attention switched to jersey defence for the next four days, before Yates relinquished it to Roglic ahead of the first rest day.

After illness interrupted Yates’ preparation, the Briton and team management agreed to focus on stage victories at the 2020 Tour, anticipating significant loss of time to allow freedom for breakaway opportunities.

The four-day stint in yellow delayed that plan and, as the mountains continued to pass, Yates continued to find his legs, seemingly getting stronger as the days went by following his illness in July.

With a podium position still up for grabs until the final mountain stage, Yates and Mitchelton-SCOTT fell into the overall battle until the final moments, with another top-10 finish, the third in the organisation’s history, for the records.  

His performance also saw Yates equal his Australian team’s longest stint in the Malliot Jaune, Simon Gerrans and current teammate Daryl Impey wearing it for two days each back in 2013.

Head sport director Matt White said: “We came here with the idea of hunting stages and we went after it in the first week and that resulted in the yellow jersey.

“The negative side of that, for Adam at least, because he was the leader of the general classification and the yellow jersey, he couldn’t go on the attack for those stages.

“But we held the yellow jersey for four days, finished in the top 10 and the boys committed to the plan every day.

“The boys did super, it wasn’t the successes of last year, but it wasn’t through lack of effort and we’re a team that people talked about during the race, besides the yellow jersey, the way we raced and our close calls, and the boys certainly did the team very proud.”