Europcar’s Thomas Voeckler produced a stunning performance to clinch stage 16 of the Tour de France on Wednesday, a 197-kilometre trek from Pau to Bagneres-de-Luchon.
The 33 year old, fourth overall last year, held his nerve to drop the members of a 38-man breakaway one by one and secure his second stage win.
Britain’s Bradley Wiggins finished safely to retain the yellow jersey heading into stage 18, while defending champion Cadel Evans had yet another disappointing day.
The BMC rider was unable to trouble his opponents and lost ground on the last two climbs before eventually crossing the finish line nearly 12 minutes behind Voeckler.
Evans, who began the day 3:19 behind, now lies eighth overall, 8:06 behind Wiggins.
Denmark’s Chris Anker Sorensen produced a solid run but had to settle for second place while Spain’s Gorka Izaguirre came third.
The 17th stage on Thursday offers the last big day of mountain climbing, with a strenuous 143.5 km ride from Bagneres-de-Luchon to Peyragudes.