Astana’s Alexey Lutsenko claimed the biggest success of his career with victory in stage six of the Tour de France as Britain’s Adam Yates retained the leader’s yellow jersey.
Lutsenko left the rest of the breakaway behind on a steep climb with 17km to go and finished alone on Mont Aigoual.
Yates finished in the bunch, with the main favourites content to save their attacks for another day.
“We defended well and I get another day in yellow,” said Yates.
“I got the jersey in a strange situation but hopefully we did it proud.”
France’s Julian Alaphilippe, who lost the yellow jersey to Yates on Wednesday after he was docked 20 seconds for taking a bottle inside the final 20km, sprinted late on to grab one second back in a show of defiance.
Yates, who said before the race he is targeting stage wins instead of the overall title this year, leads Slovenia’s Primoz Roglic by three seconds.
He should keep the jersey after Friday’s stage seven, which is one for the sprinters, before facing two tough days in the Pyrenees that lead into Monday’s first rest day.
“Those two stages are going to be really tough but we’ve got a super strong team so I’m looking forward to it,” added Yates.
“I still want to win a stage but it’s hard to throw away time in the lead so I’ll play it day by day and set what happens.”
Stage six result
1. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz/Astana) 4hrs 32mins 34secs
2. Jesus Herrada (Spa/Cofidis) +55secs
3. Greg van Avermaet (Bel/CCC Team) +2mins 15secs
4. Neilson Powless (US/EF Pro Cycling) +2mins 17secs
5. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra/Deceuninck-Quick-Step) +2mins 52secs
6. Bauke Mollema (Ned/Trek-Segafredo) +2mins 53secs
7. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol/Ineos Grenadiers) Same time
8. Egan Bernal (Col/Ineos Grenadiers)
9. Richard Carapaz (Ecu/Ineos Grenadiers)
10. Adam Yates (GB/Mitchelton-Scott)
General classification after stage six
1. Adam Yates (GB/Mitchelton-Scott) 27mins 3mins 57secs
2. Primoz Roglic (Slo/Jumbo-Visma) +3secs
3. Tadej Pogacar (Slo/UAE Team Emirates) +7secs
4. Guillaume Martin (Fra/Cofidis) +9secs
5. Egan Bernal (Col/Ineos Grenadiers) +13secs
6. Tom Dumoulin (Ned/Jumbo-Visma) Same time
7. Esteban Chaves (Col/Mitchelton-Scott)
8. Nairo Quintana (Col/Arkea-Samsic)
9. Romain Bardet (Fra/AG2R La Mondiale)
10. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col/Astana)