Peter Sagan won stage 11 of the Tour de France in Montpellier on Wednesday, with Chris Froome finishing right behind him in second to extend his overall lead.
Both men formed part of a four-man group that launched a late surprise attack at the end of 162.5km stage from Carcassonne.
With 10km to go, Sagan launched the bold attack, with Froome following suit. Sagan was supported by Tinkoff teammate Maciej Bodnar, while Froome had Team Sky partner Geraint Thomas.
Leading by as much as 22 seconds over the peloton, their advantage was eventually reduced to six seconds, though Sagan held on for the win and Froome gained 12 seconds on his main rivals for finishing second, having earned a time bonus.
Bodnar was third.
“Something crazy happened. I didn’t believe the attack could go,” said Sagan. “And then Froomey and Geraint Thomas went with us, and I said, ‘They are too strong. They are never gonna catch us.’ It’s unbelievable.”
The day's early breakaway formed in the opening kms, as Arthur Vichot of FDJ and IAM Cycling’s Leigh Howard made their moves.
Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) was involved in a crash with several others after just 25km, the incident happening on a wide-open country road, with strong crosswinds causing problems.
The main GC hopefuls stayed at the front of the leading group, looking to protect their leaders, and with about 12 km to go to Montpellier, Sagan made his move.
Thursday sees the riders take on Mont Ventoux, one of the toughest mountains on the Tour.
Stage 11 results
1. Peter Sagan (TINKOFF) 3:26:23
2. Christopher Froome (TEAM SKY) +0
3. Maciej Bodnar (TINKOFF) +0
4. Alexander Kristoff (TEAM KATUSHA) +6
5. Christophe Laporte (COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS) +6
6. Jasper Stuyven (TREK – SEGAFREDO) +6
7. Edvald Boasson Hagen (DIMENSION DATA) +6
8. André Greipel (LOTTO SOUDAL) +6
9. Sondre Holst Enger (IAM CYCLING) +6
General classification after Stage 11
1. Christopher Froome (TEAM SKY) 52:34:37
2. Adam Yates (OBE) +28
3. Daniel Martin (ETIXX – QUICK STEP) +31
4. Nairo Quintana (MOVISTAR TEAM) +35
5. Bauke Mollema (TREK – SEGAFREDO) +56
6. Romain Bardet (AG2R LA MONDIALE) +56
7. Sergio Henao (TEAM SKY) +56
8. Alejandro Valverde (MOVISTAR TEAM) +1:13
9. Tejay Van Garderen (BMC RACING TEAM) +1:13
10. Roman Kreuziger (TINKOFF) +1:28