Britain’s Geraint Thomas produced a superb late attack to win stage five at the Criterium du Dauphine.
Thomas, 35, used a 180-degree turn to surge clear and hold off Sonny Colbrelli, with Alex Aranburu in third.
The result sees the Ineos Grenadiers rider move up to sixth in the general classification 14 seconds behind leader Austria’s Lukas Postlberger.
“It wasn’t planned. The boys said on the radio that I had a gap, and I just went all in,” Thomas said.
With the Criterium considered as an important warm-up race for the Tour de France, the Welshman, who won both events in 2018, appears to be close to a return to his best form.
His tactical opportunism in the final kilometre saw him earn a 10-second time bonus and he looks well placed as the race moves into the mountains for its concluding three stages.
However, his former Ineos team-mate and four-time Tour de France winner, Chris Froome, endured another difficult day finishing over three minutes behind the leading group.
Froome is now over eight minutes down on the leading contenders and stressed that he “will not be talking about” a record equalling fifth Tour de France victory in 2021.
“I’m very much focused on just returning back to my former level. I don’t go from this level to winning the Tour de France in a few weeks,” he said.
The race continues on Friday with a tough uphill finish on stage six, featuring the Col de Porte and the Cote de la Frette in the final 15 kilometres.
1. Geraint Thomas (GB/Ineos Grenadiers) 4hrs 02mins 15secs
2. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita/Bahrain Victorious) Same time
3. Alex Aranburu (Spa/Astana – Premier Tech)
4. Carlos Barbero (Spa/Qhubeka Assos)
5. Mads Wurtz Schmidt (Den/Israel Start-up Nation)
6. Michael Valgren (Den/EF Education-Nippo)
7. Patrick Konrad (Aut/Bora-Hansgrohe)
8. Alejandro Valverde (Spa/Movistar)
9. Harry Sweeny (Aus/Lotto Soudal)
10. Franck Bonnamour (Fra/B&B Hotels p/b KTM)
General classification after stage 5
1. Lukas Postlberger (Aut/Bora-Hansgrohe) 16hrs 59mins 22 secs
2. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz/Astana-Premier Tec) +1secs
3. Kasper Asgreen (Den/Deceuninck-QuickStep +6secs
4. Ion Izagirre (Spa/Astana-Premier Tech) +9secs
5. Wilco Kelderman (Ned/Bora-Hansgrohe +13secs
6. Geraint Thomas (GB/Ineos Grenadiers +14secs
7. Ilan van Wilder (Bel/DSM) Same time
8. Richie Porte (Aus/Ineos Grenadiers) +16 secs
9. Patrick Konrad (Aut/Bora-Hansgrohe +32 secs
10. Ben O’Connor (Aus/AG2R Citroen Team)+34secs