Luis Leon Sanchez's enterprise paid off with a flying solo escape in the final five kilometres to win the seventh stage of the Tour de France from Brioude to Aurillac.
The Spanish national time-trial champion had been in a breakaway group with David de la Fuente for much of the day and when they reached the peak of the Cote de Saint-Jean-de-Donne, Sanchez pushed away from the chasing pack, finishing six seconds ahead of Stefan Schumacher in second.
It is the 24-year-old Caisse d'Epargne rider's second major stage win of the season, after a similar victory in stage seven of Paris-Nice.
Schumacher, of Gerolsteiner, pipped Kim Kirchen to second place, but the Luxembourger stays in the yellow jersey for another day.
With King of the Mountains leader Sylvain Chavanel struggling at the back of the field, De la Fuente capitalised, leading Sanchez and two other riders over the category two climbs of the Col D'Entremont and the misty summit of the Pas de Peyrol.
De la Fuente, who finished second to Michael Rasmussen in the 2006 climbers' competition, secured the four points necessary to put into the polka dot jersey when he broke away over the final climb.
Former French champion Christophe Moreau was one of four riders to pull out of the Tour today.
Agritubel's Moreau, fourth overall in 2000, retired at the feed zone with 73.6 kms to go during the seventh stage.
His team said he was suffering from back pains. He was soon followed by compatriot John Gadret of the AG2r-La Mondiale team.
Earlier in the race, Francaise des Jeux's Lilian Jegou hit a tree and had to pull out with a fractured wrist.
Italian Mauro Facci of the Quick Step team was the first to leave the Peloton, after 66 kms.
Result of seventh stage of the Tour de France from Brioude to Aurillac:
1 Luis Leon Sanchez (Spain/Caisse d'Epargne ) 3:52.53
2 Stefan Schumacher (Germany / Gerolsteiner ) +6 secs
3 Filippo Pozzato (Italy / Liquigas ) "
4 Kim Kirchen (Luxembourg / Columbia ) "
5 Alejandro Valverde (Spain / Caisse d'Epargne ) "
6 Oscar Pereiro (Spain / Caisse d'Epargne ) "
7 Samuel Sanchez (Spain / Euskaltel ) "
8 Josep Jufre Pou (Spain / Saunier Duval ) "
9 Christian Vandevelde (U.S. / Garmin - Chipotle ) "
10 Andy Schleck (Luxembourg / Team CSC ) all same time
1 Kim Kirchen (Luxembourg / Columbia ) 28 hrs 23 mins 40 secs
2 Cadel Evans (Australia / Silence - Lotto ) +6 secs
3 Stefan Schumacher (Germany / Gerolsteiner ) +16"
4 Christian Vandevelde (U.S. / Garmin - Chipotle ) +44"
5 Denis Menchov (Russia / Rabobank ) +1:03"
6 Alejandro Valverde (Spain / Caisse d'Epargne ) +1:12"
7 David Millar (Britain / Garmin - Chipotle ) +1:14"
8 Stijn Devolder (Belgium / Quick-Step ) +1:21"
9 Oscar Pereiro (Spain / Caisse d'Epargne ) "
10 Thomas Lovkvist (Sweden / Columbia ) all same time