For the first time since 2011 a Frenchman is wearing the Tour de France leader’s yellow jersey and it’s Lotto-Belisol’s Tony Gallopin.
Stage nine was a 170 kilometre trek to Mulhouse.
On the descent of the first climb Germany’s three-time world time trial champion Tony Martin broke with Alessandro De Marchi of the Cannondale team in tow.
But when it came to the principle difficulty of the day, the category 1 Markstein climb, Martin dropped his Italian rival with some 59 kilometres remaining.
Gallopin meanwhile sensed the overall race lead was for the taking and picked up the pace in the chasing group.
Way out in front Martin of the Omega Pharma-Quick Step team crossed over the line for a superb solo victory.
Two minutes and 45 second behind the chasing group gathered for the mass sprint to fill the podium – a race won by Swiss ace Fabian Cancellara.
It was mission complete for Gallopin who safely negotiated the sprint to finish in the bunch and take the overall race lead.
Belgium’s Greg Van Avermaet of the BMC Racing Team rounded off the stage nine podium while Dutch rider Tom Dumoulin and Italian Matteo Montaguti completed the top five.
Gallopin now holds a one minute and 34 second lead over former pace setter Vincenzo Nibali with Tiago Machado of Portugal third at two minutes 40 seconds