Chris Froome moved into the Tour de France's yellow jersey with a huge show of strength from Team Sky on the first proper day in the mountains.
Froome attacked on the final climb to Ax 3 Domaines, moving clear with 5.5 kilometres of the category one climb remaining and pulling clear as his rivals Alberto Contador and Alejandro Valverde were unable to respond.
The stage win, Froome's first of the Tour, was enough to put the Briton in yellow with South African Daryl Impey dropped early on the stage.
Dan Martin and Nicolas Roche finished in 15th and 23rd place respectively and are now 13th and 22nd in the general classification .
Froome won stage seven of last year's Tour in La Plance des Belles Filles, when that victory put his team-mate Bradley Wiggins in a yellow jersey he would keep all the way to Paris.
Now Froome's clear goal is to emulate that achievement, and the manner of today's attack has already put him in a strong position in the general classification standings.
Today's stage was always billed as the one which would see the real battle commence but the ease with which Froome climbed away suggests it may not be a fair fight.