Vincenzo Nibali put the hammer down on the Tour de France when the Italian snatched a solo win in the 13th stage in a mountaintop finish as Australian Richie Porte blew up in the heat on Friday.
Astana rider Nibali went on his own in the long climb to Chamrousse to open a 3:37 gap over Spain's Alejandro Valverde in the overall standings.
"I wanted to control the race. It was a very long climb, I thought it would never end," said Nibali, who is looking to complete his set of grand tour titles having won the Giro last year and the Vuelta in 2010.
"I wanted to gain time on Valverde, and I knew Porte had been dropped. Then after joining Majka and Konig, there was not much collaboration in the group so I decided to go on my own."
Romain Bardet is third overall in front of Thibaut Pinot despite losing 30 seconds to his fellow Frenchman in the stage, a 197.5-km trek from St Etienne, as France looks closer to having a rider on the podium in Paris for the first time since 1997.
Bardet, who holds the white jersey for the best Under-25 rider, is 4:24 off the pace with Pinot 16 seconds back ahead of the second stage in the Alps, a 177-km ride to Risoul on Saturday.