Romain Bardet ensured his first Tour de France stage win after mastering the famous Lacets de Montvernier climb.
Frenchman Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) clinched stage 18 of the Tour de France on Thursday - finishing clear of Pierre Rolland and Winner Anacona on the 186.5km trek from Gap to Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne as Chris Froome retained a healthy advantage in the general classification standings.
Bardet led at the summit of the penultimate Col du Glandon climb and showcased his descending capabilities ahead of the 17 hairpins of Lacets de Montvernier.
Having raced the scenic climb on the recent Criterium du Dauphine this year, Bardet always looked in control and again descended in rapid fashion to hold off his nearest challengers.
Yellow jersey holder Froome (Team Sky) saw the likes of Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) mount attacks that came to nothing as the main GC contenders all came home together.
Froome still enjoys a three minute and 10 second advantage from Quintana in second.
Rolland, Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) and Julian Arredondo (Trek Factory Racing) were among a 29-man leading group that was reduced to just 10 going into the steep climb up the Col du Glandon.
Bob Jungels (Trek Factory) exhibited his climbing qualities in front as Froome lost team-mate Richie Porte in the chasing pack.
Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) launched a burst from the yellow jersey group with 46km remaining but Team Sky and Movistar opted against challenging as the Spaniard joined a four-man chase behind the leaders going into the final 5km of the Glandon climb.
Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) chose to attack soon after and Quintana, Froome and Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) went with him - Valverde initially dropping after struggling to keep pace.
However, as the GC rivals dropped off, Bardet pulled clear and boasted a 40-second lead going into the Lacets de Montvernier.
Rolland's pressure was to no avail as Bardet sealed a maiden Tour stage win - moving level with Rodriguez in the King of the Mountains contest.
The pair both have 68 points, four more than Jakob Fuglsang, who suffered a crash ahead of the final climb.