German Linus Gerdemann of the T-Mobile team took the Tour de France yellow jersey with victory on the seventh stage.
The 24-year-old, who was part of a 15-man breakaway, attacked decisively on the ascent of the category-one Col de la Colombiere towards the end of the stage, a 197.5-km trek from Bourg-en-Bresse to Le Grand-Bornand.
Riding his first Tour de France, Gerdemann finished 40 seconds ahead of Spaniard Inigo Landaluze of the Euskaltel team. Another Spaniard, Saunier-Duval's David De La Fuente, came home third, 1:39 off the pace.
On Bastille Day, the first Frenchman was Laurent Lefevre in fifth for Bouygues Telecom.
As expected, Swiss world time trial champion Fabian Cancellara surrendered the overall lead after finishing behind the peloton.
Astana riders Alexander Vinokourov and Andreas Kloeden, who sustained injuries in separate crashes on Thursday, finished in the main pack.
Kloeden, sixth in the overall standings 3:39 behind compatriot Gerdemann, is the best placed of the top contenders for the overall victory.
A group of 15 riders, including former Giro d'Italia winner Paolo Savoldelli, built an advantage of 8:30 shortly after the category-three climb of the Cote de Corlier.
The peloton was then spurred into action by the CSC and Predictor Lotto teams and reduced the gap to 4:15 before the ascent of the Col de la Colombiere.
Cancellara was soon dropped off the pack along with American George Hincapie and green jersey holder Tom Boonen.
Kazakh Dmitriy Fofonov of the Credit Agricole team and Gerdemann broke away from the leading group at the start of the 16-km climb.
The German, with only one Tour of Switzerland stage win to his name, left Fofonov stuck on the tar 20 km from the finish line with an impressive burst of speed and then held off Landaluze's challenge.
Sunday's eighth stage will start from Le Grand-Bornand to a summit finish in Tignes after a 165-km ride and three category-one climbs.