As the Criterium du Dauphine climbed into the alpine clouds on Saturday Australian Richie Porte emerged with the overall lead with one stage remaining.
The stage itself was won by exultant Mark Padun of Bahrain Victorious, who threw back his head and laughed as he crossed the line at the La Plagne ski resort at 2072m above sea level.
"When I crossed the line I thought I'd wake up in my bed," said the 24-year-old Ukrainian who admitted attacking so that his mum would see him on television.
His mother will have seen him attack from 5km on the epic 17km slog at 7.5 percent gradient.
Recent Ineos recruit Porte, third in last year's Tour de France, made his move from a kilometre out and only Miguel Angle Lopez was able to follow, the Colombian coming third on the day.
Overnight leader Alexey Lutsenko, a Kazakh who rides for Astana, dropped to second overall at 17 seconds. Welshman Geraint Thomas, a team-mate of Porte's at Ineos, in third.
"We have the numbers so we worked the numbers," explained the affable Porte who rode with team-mates Thomas and Tao Geoghegan Hart for most of the stage.
"Geraint told me to go, but that had been our plan this morning."
There are a crowd of riders capable of snatching victory on the last stage though with Bora's Wilko Kelderman at 33sec overall and Lopez at 38 two likely to at least mount a challenge.
The stage took in the tough ascent and tight descent of the Cormet de Roselend with its hairpin bends and breathtaking lake below.
Sunday's final stage in the Upper Savoy includes some tough climbing but the finish line comes 16km after the final summit.