BMC Racing were the winners on the ninth stage of the Tour de France, a 28-kilometre team-trial which ended in Plumelec in Brittany.
They clocked 32 minutes and 15 seconds to beat Team Sky by the slimmest of margins – just one second.
It was expected to be a day for Chris Froome’s main rivals to make the most out of his supposed weakness in the tricky opening block of racing.
But the Briton’s bid for the title is firmly on track as Team Sky closed ranks and remained solid.
Third place went to Movistar, four seconds behind as Colombian climber Nairo Quintana limited damage caused by Froome and BMC’s leader Tejay van Garderen.
The American is now Froome’s biggest competitor for the yellow jersey, riding some 12 seconds back in the overall standings.
In the general classification the other big challengers lost ground. Spain’s Alberto Contador is struggling in fifth while defending champion Vincenzo Nibali of Italy is 13th.
Froome, the 2013 champion, will now be keen to all but wrap up the race as it goes into the mountains – the Pyrenees in the second week and the Alps in the third.
Monday will see the riders off the road as they enjoy a rest.