Frenchman Christophe Moreau leads the Dauphine Libere after the sixth stage was won by Kazakhstan's Maxim Iglinsky.
Moreau is making a late charge for the title
Moreau broke away from a group containing overnight leader Andrey Kashechkin on the Col de Telegraphe climb 8km from the finish.
The Ag2R rider could not catch Astana's Iglinsky but moved into pole position ahead of Sunday's final stage.
Second behind Iglinsky was Russian Alexandre Botcharov, with Frenchman Pierrick Fedrigo in third.
Moreau said: "I attacked at exactly the right moment, just when Astana had worked hard and tired out a lot of their rivals.
"But I'd seen Kashechkin had been in trouble on some of the previous climbs, so it was the right move to make."
The race, one of the key build-up events for the Tour de France, ends in Annecy after two tough climbs.
Dauphine Libere stage six results:
1. Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz/Astana) 5hrs 51mins 32secs
2. Alexander Botcharov (Rus/Credit Agricole) +51"
3. Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra/Bouygues Telecom)
4. Remy Di Gregorio (Fra/Francaise des Jeux)
5. Egoi Martinez (Spa/Discovery Channel) +2:16"
6. Mikel Astarloza (Spa/Euskaltel)
7. Aliaksandr Kuchynski (Blr/Liquigas)
8. Christophe Moreau (Fra/Ag2R) +2:23"
9. Cadel Evans (Aus/Predictor-Lotto ) +2:25"
10. Leonardo Piepoli (Ita/Saunier Duval)
1. Christophe Moreau (Fra/Ag2R) 26hrs 54mins 25secs
2. Cadel Evans (Aus/Predictor-Lotto) +14"
3. Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz/Astana) +1:27"
4. Denis Menchov (Rus/Rabobank) +1:52"
5. David Zabriskie (US/Team CSC) +2:16"