Luis Leon Sanchez’s enterprise paid off with a flying solo escape in the final five kilometres to win the seventh stage of the Tour de France from Brioude to Aurillac.
The Spanish national time-trial champion had been in a breakaway group with David de la Fuente for much of the day and when they reached the peak of the Cote de Saint-Jean-de-Donne, Sanchez pushed away from the chasing pack, finishing six seconds ahead of Stefan Schumacher in second.
It is the 24-year-old Caisse d’Epargne rider’s second major stage win of the season, after a similar victory in stage seven of Paris-Nice.
Schumacher, of Gerolsteiner, pipped Kim Kirchen to second place, but the Luxembourger stays in the yellow jersey for another day.
With King of the Mountains leader Sylvain Chavanel struggling at the back of the field, De la Fuente capitalised, leading Sanchez and two other riders over the category two climbs of the Col D’Entremont and the misty summit of the Pas de Peyrol.
De la Fuente, who finished second to Michael Rasmussen in the 2006 climbers’ competition, secured the four points necessary to put into the polka dot jersey when he broke away over the final climb.