Rigoberto Urán's move to take the bonus seconds after a day of following on in the Tour de France's stage 17 to Serre-Chevalier does not sit well with rival Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale).
Cannondale-Drapac's Colombian marked Bardet's attacks and flew down the Col du Galibier with him and race leader Chris Froome (Sky).
Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) won the stage in a solo move and Urán shot ahead at the final moment for second place, taking also the six bonus seconds.
He pulls even on time with Bardet, both 27 seconds adrift from Froome, but sits second overall due to fractions of a second in the opening time trial.
"He [Urán] didn't attack much today," Bardet said. "He's happy just to follow and take bonus seconds on the line."
"Urán is an old fox," Ag2r manager Vincent Lavenu said. "He is smart and feels the race well. He knows how not to make too much effort."
"We know Urán, he is not the most offensive rider of the peloton," added the team's sports director, Julien Jurdie. "That's his strategy. And for the moment it works because we are behind him."
Bardet, second overall in 2016 behind Froome, made the most moves of the day. He attacked at least three times on the Tour's highest pass, the Galibier at 2,642 metres.
A group with Froome, Urán, Bardet, Warren Barguil (Sunweb) and later Sky's Mikel Landa raced downhill. In the sprint to the ski resort town, Bardet placed fourth behind Urán and Froome.
"It's true, not a lot of gain [for all his work], I'm a bit disappointed but I did what I could do. It was an incredible attack I said, 'I'll go, I'll go. I'll attack,'" Bardet added.
The race finishes its climbs with a summit finish to the Col d'Izoard on Thursday, the first time the Tour has finished on the iconic climb.
"I'll go again tomorrow. I've done my best to encourage the race and take the yellow jersey, I have no regrets. I remain faithful to my philosophy of trying everything to pursue the overall win," Bardet said.
Staying with the Froome move, Urán and the others rode 31 seconds into Fabio Aru (Astana). Aru sits fourth at 53 seconds overall now.
30-year-old Urán later responded to the press about Bardet's comments, saying he raced the way he did on the Galibier because he doesn't have the team like Sky to support big attacks.
“I don’t want to say anything. Every one has their own manner of racing,” Urán said.
“When you don’t have a team as strong as Sky, with climb so far away and such a long downhill, it doesn’t make much sense to attack. In the end, I worked to take some time on [Fabio] Aru.”
When the journalist pressed Urán, and asked him if he would attack in Thursday’s mountain-top finale, Urán countered: “Why don’t you ask Bardet?”
Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1