Filippo Pozzato outsprinted Iker Flores and Francisco Mancebo to win one of the longest stages in the Tour de France.
The 22-year-old showed composure beyond his years to snatch his first career stage win in Saint-Breuc despite being the youngest rider in the field.
The Italian's win was a welcome boost to the Fassa Bortolo team, which lost key man Alessandro Petacchi to injury.
Favourite Lance Armstrong and yellow jersey wearer Thomas Voeckler finished stage seven safely in the peloton.
"It's the most beautiful win of my career," said Pozzato after the 204.5-km stage through Brittany.
"I didn't think it would be my day, but I was hoping to win the stage - after Alessandro left the race, it kind of gave us the freedom to go out there and do our own thing.
"I decided to attack five or six kilometres from the finish and it turned out to be the right move. And I'm very happy about it."
His win had looked an unlikely event for much of the day as Erik Dekker and Thierry Marichal staged a lengthy breakaway, building up a margin of eight minutes.
When the peloton finally swallowed up the pair after a two-and-a-half hour chase, a sprinter's finish looked on the cards.
But another breakaway struck just as Erik Zabel's T-Mobile were starting to wind up the pace.
And Pozzato had the most strength of seven riders to take the win.
Armstrong was just relieved to have survived another day of inclement weather.
"We all anticipated that the coast there would be windy and it was for a little bit when it was storming, but it lined up after we got dry."
"It was a kind of scary for a while. But what's new?" he said, referring to a first week packed full of crashes, one of which sent him tumbling to the tarmac.