Christophe Moreau powered to a solo win at the summit of Mont Ventoux to claim stage four of the Dauphine Libere and move second in the overall standings.
AG2R rider Moreau has now claimed two stages in the Dauphine Libere
The Frenchman made the break at 12km and then dropped his closest pursuer, Silvestre Szmyd, 3km from the line.
Andrey Kashechkin took the overall lead from Alexandre Vinokoruov, who lost over seven minutes on the 197km run.
Just 30 seconds separate Kashechkin, Moreau, David Zabriksie, Denis Menchov and Cadel Evans in the title hunt.
The tight five-way battle for the crown, a traditional warm-up for next month's Tour de France, will reach its conclusion when the race finishes on Sunday in Annecy.
Moreau, who also won the second stage in St Etienne, crossed the line on the windswept Ventoux mountain in five hours, 51 minutes and 52 seconds.
The 36-year-old was more than a minute ahead of Szmyd, who was followed home by Spain's Igor Anton, Evans and Menchov.