Portugal’s Rui Costa claimed his second career Tour de France stage victory on Tuesday after the Movistar rider soloed across the line to win stage 16 in Gap.
After Monday’s rest day the peloton embarked on a short 168 kilometre ride through south-eastern France.
A 26-man breakaway animated the day’s ride but Costa attacked the front bunch on the final Col de Manse climb with 11 kilometres to go – an attack that proved decisive.
Behind the large group of escapees a smaller one followed and contained race leader Chris Froome and title rival and two-time champion Alberto Contador.
As Costa bombed down the descent to finish alone in Gap to celebrate his second win after his 2011 triumph the pace in Froome’s group quickened.
Froome and Contador nearly came off their bikes at one stage but both held on to finish 11 minutes down on the winner.
While Costa earned Movistar their first victory of the 100th edition of the race, Christophe Riblon of France crossed over for second with his compatriot Arnold Jeannesson in third.
Ahead of Wednesday’s anticipated 32 kilometre time trial Froome is four minutes and 14 seconds clear of Dutch rider Bauke Mollema while Contador is third a further 11 seconds back.