‘The Shark of Messina’ has taken another step towards winning the 2014 Tour de France title.
Italian Vincenzo Nibali took the stage 18 summit finish at Hautacam, after previous victories in Sheffield, the Vosges and the Alps.
However, it was a different story for Spaniard Alejandro Valverde. He started the day 34 seconds ahead of Thiabaut Pinot, but lagged behind as the Frenchman attacked on the ascent of Hautacam.
Nibali gave an impressive performance, which could see him become just the sixth man to win all three of the grand tours.
Winner of the previous stage, Pole Rafal Majka, also excelled, ranking third on the podium at the end of the day.
But he was no match for Nibali. After pacing the day with his teammates, the Italian sprinted clear eight kilometres from the summit finish.
No one followed him and, despite clipping a spectator, he moved one step closer to an overall win.
Nibali needs to hold on for three more days to take the title. The Astana rider is now seven minutes ten seconds clear of Thibaut Pinot, who moved up to second in the overall standings.
Another Frenchman, Jean-Christophe Péraud, lies in third place overall, while Valverde drops to fourth.