Swiss Fabian Cancellara of the CSC team won the 236.5-km third stage of the Tour de France from Waregem to Compiegne.
Stéphan Auge, Frederik Willems, Nicholas Vogondy and Matthieu Ladagnous had broken away from the main Peleton but were caught in the final kilometre.
Cancellara raced away with 500 metres to go and held off the challenge of sprinters Eric Zabel (Milram), David Napolitano (Lampre) and Belgium's Tom Boonen.
It was Cancellara's second win of the Tour after Saturday's Prologue and he remains in the yellow jersey.
Cancellara now has a 33-second lead over Andreas Kloden in the general classification.
There was some consolation for Boonen, who remains in the green jersey for the top sprinter.
'It was a really long stage,' said Cancellara.
'When I saw the four riders ahead were doing good, I had the feeling I had to work to keep my jersey.
'I knew there were some cobblestones at the very end of the stage and I knew I could attack. It's so nice to win here in Compiegne, right where Paris-Roubaix starts.'
RESULTS OF THIRD STAGE:
1 Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland / Team CSC ) 6:36:15"
2 Erik Zabel (Germany / Milram ) same time
3 Danilo Napolitano (Italy / Lampre ) "
4 Tom Boonen (Belgium / Quick-Step ) "
5 Robert Hunter (South Africa / Barloworld ) "
6 Robert Foerster (Germany / Gerolsteiner ) "
7 Robbie McEwen (Australia / Predictor - Lotto ) "
8 Bernhard Eisel (Austria / T-Mobile ) "
9 Mark Cavendish (Isle of Man / T-Mobile ) "
10 Heinrich Haussler (Germany / Gerolsteiner ) "