Defending champion Alberto Contador relaunched his yellow jersey bid with an unexpected attack on the 16th stage of the race, won by Norway’s Thor Hushovd in Gap on Tuesday.
A 10-man breakaway was established after 90kms and Hushovd broke clear along with Garmin-Cervelo team-mate Ryder Hesjedal and Team Sky’s Edvald Boasson Hagen.
The World champion eventually overcame a late surge from fellow countryman Boasson Hagen to clinch his second stage of the Tour de France in Gap on Tuesday.
Former two-time runner-up Cadel Evans finished 4min 23sec behind Hushovd to move one place up to second overall while Contador and fellow Spaniard Samuel Sanchez crossed the line three seconds later at 4:26.
France’s Thomas Voeckler retained the yellow jersey, but Evans and Contador both made significant gains.