Tadej Pogacar sprinted away at the finish to win stage six and move into the overall lead at the Tour de France.
The defending champion attacked at the top of the short climb into Longwy, pulling away from the peloton to finish ahead of Michael Matthews and David Gaudu.
Britain’s Tour debutant Tom Pidcock finished fourth.
With a time bonus applied, Slovenian Pogacar, 23, has a four-second lead overall from American Neilson Powless.
It was a seventh stage win in the event for the UAE Team Emirates rider, who won the Tour in 2020 and 2021.
The 219.9km route from Binche to Longwy marked the longest stage in this year’s race and it began frenetically with Belgian’s Wout van Aert at the forefront of several attacks before one stuck.
The Jumbo-Visma rider initially escaped in a three-man group containing Jakob Fuglsang and Quinn Simmons but his over-ambitious move which saw him at the front of the race for over 130km and go solo in the final 30km, eventually cost him the yellow jersey when he was caught and passed 11km from the line.
His attention will now divert to the points classification in which he currently enjoys a healthy lead over Fabio Jakobsen and to helping team-mate Jonas Vingegaard attempt to challenge Pogacar.
While the Ineos Grenadiers trio of Adam Yates, Pidcock and Geraint Thomas all moved up in the GC race to sit fourth, fifth and sixth, Pogacar’s display suggests he will be difficult to dislodge at the top of the standings.
“Every time I win it’s even better,” said Pogacar. “Today was so hard from the start. The first two hours were crazy and the strongest guy went in the breakaway.
“My team did an incredibly good job to put me in a perfect position.
“It was not a pure sprint after we rode the last two climbs above threshold. I guess I had good legs to push in the end. I don’t mind to take the yellow jersey but I’m above all happy to take the stage win. Everything else is bonus.”
Stage six results
1. Tadej Pogacar (Slo/UAE Team Emirates) 4hrs 27mins 13secs
2. Michael Matthews (Aus/BikeExchange – Jayco) Same time
3. David Gaudu (Fra/Groupama – FDJ)
4. Tom Pidcock (GB/Ineos Grenadiers)
5. Nairo Quintana (Col/Arkea Samsic)
6. Dylan Teuns (Bel/Bahrain Victorious)
7. Jonas Vingegaard (Den/Jumbo-Visma)
8. Daniel Martinez (Col/Ineos Grenadiers)
9. Primoz Roglic (Slo/Jumbo-Visma)
10. Romain Bardet (Fra/DSM)
General classification after stage six
1. Tadej Pogacar (Slo/UAE Team Emirates) 20hrs 44mins 44secs
2. Neilson Powless (US/EF Education-EasyPost +4secs
3. Jonas Vingegaard (Den/Jumbo – Visma) +31secs
4. Adam Yates (GB/Ineos Grenadiers) +39secs
5. Tom Pidcock (GB/Ineos Grenadiers) +40secs
6. Geraint Thomas (GB/Ineos Grenadiers) +46secs
7. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus/Bora-Hansgrohe) +52secs
8. Daniel Martinez (Col/Ineos Grenadiers) +1min
9. Romain Bardet (Fra/DSM) 1mins 1secs
10. David Gaudu (Fra/Groupama/FDJ)