Alongside Columbia's George Hincapie, Française des Jeux's Christophe Le Mével was another benefactor of a stage 14 escape, as the Frenchman moved well up the general classification.
While Hincapie came within five seconds of taking the yellow jersey, Le Mével moved from 30th position into fifth place, 0:43 in arrears of the race leader Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale).
"This move is very good. Fifth in general classification after two weeks is gratifying," Le Mével told L'Equipe at the finish in Besançon. "I said to myself there would be a beautiful blow which was going to be done. We battled for 50km before the peloton let us go. "
The former Crédit Agricole rider moved to Marc Madiot's Française des Jeux squad in the wake of his previous sponsor's withdrawal from the sport. The change of teams has also precipitated a change in objectives for the 28-year-old, who won a stage of the Giro d'Italia in 2005.
He finished tenth overall at Paris-Nice in March and, more recently, recorded the same result at the Dauphiné Libéré. "I have a new role in the team. I have affirmed my ability in the one-week stage races," said Le Mével who has moved to the south of France in order to increase his training in the mountains.
The Frenchman indicated that he felt good as the Tour heads into the Alps on stage 15, where he will hope to defend his position overall.
"The legs are improving. That gives me confidence before Verbier. I've progressed a lot in the mountains. In a three-week race it is different, I will be need to go to my maximum."