France's Pierrick Fedrigo outsprinted Italian Salvatore Commesso in the 14th stage of the Tour de France.
It was Fedrigo's first-ever stage win in the Tour
The duo were in a six-strong group out on their own for much of the stage, but that was reduced to three by a bad crash about an hour from the finish.
David Canada and Rik Verbrugghe were injured and later pulled out of the race, but Matthias Kessler continued.
Race leader Oscar Pereiro retained the yellow jersey at the end of the 180km stage from Montelimar to Gap.
The breakaway group of six had been clear of the field since about the 50km mark and had built the lead up to six minutes at one point but drama struck at just under 40km to go.
Verbrugghe's bike slipped on a right-hand corner and he was sent flying over a crash barrier, breaking a bone in his left thigh and suffering several wounds on his left arm.
Canada also came to grief, breaking his collarbone in his fall which brought down Kessler who was also catapaulted over the barrier.
Kessler got back on his bike but was swept up by the peleton and eventually finished 124th.
Canada suffered a broken collarbone in the accident
That left Fedrigo, Commesso and Mario Aerts clear but Belgian Aerts then dropped off the pace in the road-meltingly hot conditions.
As the leading pair battled their way over the treacherous Col de la Sentinelle, the peloton were steadily closing the gap.
Christian Vandevelde broke clear from the main group on the descent and came within seconds of catching the pair as they approached the finish line in Gap.
But he was just too late as Fedrigo got the better of Lampre rider Commesso in the final few yards.
"We had a good first week but all our breakaway attempts failed so we wanted to make amends for this," said the Bouygues Telecom rider.
"At the end, I did not look back. I stayed behind Commesso and kept focused on the finish line."
Fedrigo admitted that he had been lucky to avoid crashing out with Verbrugghe, Canada and Kessler.
"The road was uneven and then Rik's (Verbrugghe) wheel seemed to lock up. His bike hit me, but luckily it didn't stop me from riding," said the Frenchman.
The riders have a rest day on Monday before tackling the tough Alpine stages ahead of the finish in Paris next weekend.
Results from 14th stage
1. Pierrick Fedrigo (France/Bouygues Telecom) 4:14:23"
2. Salvatore Commesso (Italy/Lampre) same time
3. Christian Vande Velde (US/Team CSC) +3"
4. Christophe Moreau (France/AG2R) +7"
5. Georg Totschnig (Austria/Gerolsteiner) same time
6. Stefano Garzelli (Italy/Liquigas ) same time
7. Cristian Moreni (Italy/Cofidis ) same time
8. George Hincapie (US/Discovery Channel) same time
9. Cadel Evans (Australia/Davitamon-Lotto) same time
10. Alexandre Botcharov (Russia/Credit Agricole) same time
99. David Millar (GB/Saulnier) +8:04"
103. Bradley Wiggins (GB/Cofidis) same time
1. Oscar Pereiro (Spain/Caisse d'Epargne) 64:05:04"
2. Floyd Landis (US/Phonak) +1:29"
3. Cyril Dessel (France/AG2R) +1:37"
4. Denis Menchov (Russia/Rabobank) +2:30"
5. Cadel Evans (Australia/Davitamon-Lotto) +2:46"
6. Carlos Sastre (Spain/Team CSC) +3:21"
7. Andreas Kloeden (Germany/T-Mobile) +3:58"
8. Michael Rogers (Australia/T-Mobile) +4:51"
9. Juan Miguel Mercado (Spain/Agritubel) +5:02"
10. Christophe Moreau (France/AG2R) +5:13"
75. David Millar (GB/Saulnier) +53:23"
130. Bradley Wiggins (GB/Cofidis) +1hr 24:34"