Tinkoff-Saxo rider Rafal Majka rode to victory in Stage 11 of the Tour de France 2015 on Wednesday, while Briton Chris Froome continued his dominance at the top of the General Classification standings.
The Polish climber rode away solo and sped up with 7km to go to the Col du Tourmalet from a breakaway group, to clinch the prestigious Souvenir Jacques Goddet.
Team Sky's Froome finished the 188km route from Pau to Cauterets in the Pyrenees alongside most of his rivals, and leads Tejay van Garderen by two minutes and 52 seconds, in the overall classification.
Looking at the race, Majka said that he started pushing himself once his sporting director told him to, and believes the win will boost his team's morale going ahead.
"The stage win was not an objective but I found an opportunity. I followed an attack and I saw a lot of guys suffering a lot. When we had 45 seconds lead, my sport director told me to go," Majka said.
"Today's win will boost the team's morale after the abandons of Ivan Basso and Daniele Bennati to whom I dedicate this victory as well as to my family and my wife whose support gives me a lot of power. There are another long two weeks of racing and I'll be able to tell you more only after stage 20."
Majka, 25, looked set to reach Cauterets first from the moment he burst off from the front of a breakaway group of seven riders during the climb up to the Tourmalet. American rider Daniel Martin, who came second in the stage, recorded a time which was a minute slower than Majka. Emanuel Buchmann came third.
For Froome however, the stage didn't turn out too easy as he couldn't make much of an impact as he did on Stage 10. However, that didn't matter in the GC standings, as his closest rivals couldn't make much of an impact either.
"It's been another very hard stage. Maybe for the viewers it's been calm but I can guarantee that a lot of people have left a lot of energy on the road with the temperatures and the high speed of the first two hours of racing. Actually the last two hours have been tough because of the accumulated effects of the first two hours. It's been brutal!" Froome said.
"[On Thursday] we'll have a decisive stage finishing at Plateau de Beille and that's a tough climb! A lot of guys will feel the effects of the hard racing we've had."
The race now enters the third day of the three tough days at the Pyrenees. The 195 km Stage 12 from Lannemezan and ends with a summit finish atop the Plateau de Beille.
Hot weather is expected to make the stage even more difficult.
"Whatever the situation in the leading positions of the general classification, the rivals of the yellow jersey will really have a good opportunity to challenge him," Christian Prudhomme, Director, Tour de France, told SBS.
"Frightful, the climb to the Plateau de Beille is made for pure climbers. Laurent Fignon used to say that the less prepared struggle on the third day in the mountains."
WHERE TO WATCH LIVE
In India, the Tour de France Stage 12 can be watched live on Ten Sports (6:45 pm IST), with the option of live streaming on tensports.com
Viewers in the UK can catch it on Eurosport from 11 am BST. ITV4 will be broadcasting with programmes starting at 12 pm BST.
Highlights: Eurosport2 6 pm - 7 pm & 9 pm - 10:30 pm; ITV4 7 pm - 8 pm; S4C from 10 pm
Viewers in the US can catch it on NBC from 6 am ET - broadcasting four to five hours of live coverage every stage on its NBC Sports channel.
NBC Sports will also air a slightly compressed three-hour broadcast of each stage in primetime, starting at 8 pm ET each night.