Yury Trofimov (Katusha) swept down off the Col de Manse and into Gap to take a solo win on the fourth stage of the Criterium du Dauphine on Wednesday.
The Russian had been part of a 13-rider escape group, but left him companions behind on the final climb of the day, descending to victory.
Fellow escapee Gustav Larsson (IAM Cycling) came home for second place at 23 seconds, with Pim Ligthart (Lotto-Belisol) in third, two seconds further back.
Chris Froome (Sky) retained his position at the top of the general classification, finishing the stage in 21st place and two minutes and 10 seconds behind Trofimov. He maintained his 12-second lead over Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo).
There was an element of panic in the peloton during the fast-paced stage from Montelimar after the escape group had built up a lead of four minutes heading into the final climb. Among their number was Maxime Bouet (Ag2r), who for most of the stage occupied the virtual race lead by dint of him only trailing Froome by 2-43 at the start of the day.
By the line, the time deficit had been reduced to two minutes after a lot of work from Sky at the front of the bunch. However, Bouet’s advantage saw him move up to seventh spot overall, with the result that 21-year-old Briton Adam Yates has slipped from ninth to 10th in the general classification.
Thursday’s stage five sees the riders tackle a lumpy route from Sisteron to La Mure, incorporating six categorised climbs. The 2014 Criterium du Dauphine concludes on Sunday, June 22.
Criterium du Dauphine 2014, stage four: Montelimar to Gap, 167.5km
1. Yury Trofimov (Rus) Katusha in 3-59-22
2. Gustav Larsson (Swe) IAM Cycling at 23 secs
3. Pim Ligthart (Ned) Lotto-Belisol at 25 secs
4. Lars-Peter Nordhaug (Den) Belkin at 28 secs
5. Peter Velits (Svk) BMC Racing Team
6. Maxime Bouet (Fra) Ag2r
7. Jan Bakelants (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
8. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale at same time
9. Andriy Grivko (Kaz) Astana at 1-31
10. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp at same time
Overall classification after stage four
1. Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky in 14-09-19
2. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo at 12 secs
3. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin at 21 secs
4. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 33 secs
5. Jurgen Van den Broeck (Bel) Lotto-Belisol at 35 secs
6. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 50 secs
7. Maxime Bouet (Fra) Ag2r at 1-01
8. Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Trek Factory Racing at 1-22
9. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 1-22
10. Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-GreenEdge at 1-31
Nikias Arndt wins bunch sprint as Chris Froome safely keeps overall race lead