Slovenian Matej Mohoric won a photo finish for stage 19 of the Tour de France on Friday after a late escape following the 173 km run from Moirans-en-Montagne to Poligny.
The Bahrain Victorious rider finished just ahead of Thursday's stage winner Kasper Asgreen and Australian Ben O'Connor. Runaway race leader Jonas Vingegaard retained the yellow jersey.
"I gave it all because I didn't want to get back on the bus tonight with any regrets," said Mohoric after his third Tour stage victory.
Run through the narrow country roads of the pretty Ain region in eastern France, a blistering pace of almost 50kph was set with the mild temperature around 22C, a drop from a few days ago.
Mohoric claimed a third stage win for the Bahrain team after Pello Bilbao and Wout Poels also picked up wins on this tour.
The Slovenian proved to be the toughest and smartest on a stage which included multiple attacks, breakaway attempts and riders splitting up into several groups.
The peloton, with defending champion Vingegaard in the yellow jersey, arrived almost 14 minutes later, riding at a steady pace to save tier legs for the final mountain test on stage 20.
Belgian sprint specialist Jasper Philipsen of Alpecin-Deceunink was targeting a fifth win on this Tour but retains his sprint points jersey after finishing in the chasing group.
"There were a lot of attacks early and a very fast pace," said Jumbo-Visma's Vingegaard.
"We don't know yet how we will play it tomorrow, we don't like to say but it depends on how I feel," said the race leader.
Vingegaard can no longer count on the help of Wout van Aert, with the Belgian rushing home for the birth of his first child.
But cycling's all-time great Eddy Merckx believes Vingegaard's climbing makes him stronger on Grand Tours than his rival Pogacar ahead of stage 20 in the Vosges mountains.
"Pogacar is still a more complete rider," Merckx told AFP ahead of stage 19. "But for the moment, in the high mountains at least, Vingegaard remains the stronger of the two."
The 26-year-old Dane won the 2022 Tour de France by turning the screw on the then two-time defending champion Pogacar on a sizzling day on the final climb of a major mountain stage.