Primoz Roglic offered an impressive display of his form to his fellow Tour de France contenders with victory on a summit finish on stage four.
His Jumbo-Visma team dictated the pace on the final climb before Roglic countered an attack by Guillaume Martin to leave his rivals behind and win in Orcieres-Merlette.
France’s Julian Alaphilippe finished fifth to retain the yellow jersey.
“It was quite a fast day, quite hard,” said Roglic.
“My team did a really good job again – I was always in a good position and in the end I could do a good sprint and I’m really happy.”
Vuelta a Espana champion Roglic has moved up to third overall, seven seconds down on Alaphilippe, while Britain’s Adam Yates finished 10th to remain second overall at four seconds back.
Slovenia’s Roglic is one of the favourites for overall victory but there were doubts about his fitness coming into the race after he was forced to withdraw while leading the Criterium du Dauphine last month following a crash.
Yet despite Roglic still sporting a few bandages, he and his team reinforced why they are likely to be the main challengers to defending champion Egan Bernal and Ineos Grenadiers this year.
After Latvia’s Krists Neilands, the last rider left from a six-man breakaway on the 160.5km stage from Sisteron, was caught at the start of the last climb, Jumbo-Visma did most of the work on the front.
Wout van Aert and Sepp Kuss both took turns to set a high pace and prevent attacks, with the latter leading a group of all the favourites into the final kilometre.
Cofidis rider Martin tried to catch them out but Roglic and compatriot Tadej Pogacar jumped onto his wheel, with Bernal and Alaphilippe initially unable to do the same.
Roglic then kicked again to secure his third Tour de France stage win while Pogacar held on for second with Martin third.
Bernal is only 10 seconds back on Roglic in sixth overall and there are plenty of much tougher climbs to come on which the Colombian is more likely to thrive.
But Roglic and his team will gain confidence from their show of strength on the first summit finish of this year’s race, especially with Ineos’ other protected rider Richard Carapaz losing 28 seconds to drop to 21st overall.
Ireland’s Sam Bennett drew level with Peter Sagan in the points classification and will seek to take the green jersey from the Slovakian on Wednesday’s stage five, which looks likely to end in a bunch sprint.
Stage four result
1. Primoz Roglic (Slo/Jumbo-Visma) 4hrs 07mins 47secs
2. Tadej Pogacar (Slo/UAE Team Emirates) Same time
3. Guillaume Martin (Fra/Cofidis)
4. Nairo Quintana (Col/Arkea-Samsic)
5. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra/Deceuninck-Quick-Step)
6. Miguel Angel Lopez (Spa/Astana)
7. Egan Bernal (Col/Ineos Grenadiers)
8. Thibaut Pinot (Fra/Groupama-FDJ)
9. Mikel Landa (Spa/Bahrain McLaren)
10. Adam Yates (GB/Mitchelton-Scott)
General classification after stage four
1. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra/Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 18hrs 07mins 04secs
2. Adam Yates (GB/Mitchelton-Scott) +4secs
3. Primoz Roglic (Slo/Jumbo-Visma) +7secs
4. Tadej Pogacar (Slo/UAE Team Emirates) +11secs
5. Guillaume Martin (Fra/Cofidis) +13secs
6. Egan Bernal (Col/Ineos Grenadiers) +17secs
7. Tom Dumoulin (Ned/Jumbo-Visma) Same time
8. Esteban Chaves (Col/Mitchelton-Scott)
9. Nairo Quintana (Col/Arkea-Samsic)
10. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col/Astana)