Edvald Boasson Hagen won the bunch sprint on stage three of the Criterium du Dauphine as Bradley Wiggins maintained his overall lead on a perfect day for Team Sky.
The 167 kilometres route from Givors to La Clayette always looked like one for the sprinters and it couldn't have turned out any better for Team Sky.
They safely marshalled defending champion Wiggins into the closing stages to make sure he kept his one second advantage over Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) on the general classification.
The sprinters then took over and it was Norway's Boasson Hagen, given licence to hunt out a stage success, who timed his challenge perfectly.
He latched onto the Omega Pharma-QuickStep lead-out train of Gerald Ciolek before powering past the German for a clear-cut triumph, with Borut Božic (Astana) in third.
Afterwards a delighted Boasson Hagen said: "It was a nice day for the team as we had the yellow jersey but we didn’t really have to work. The team did a good job to keep Bradley up the front and I could just sit behind.
"Yesterday I was riding a lot at the front but today I was able to conserve my energy for the sprint.
"[John] Degenkolb [Argos-Shimano] had a flat tyre late on so there was one less to sprint against and I was able to win which I'm really happy about.
"I knew I had to find my own way to the line and at the finish I was sitting on Ciolek’s wheel and he had a good lead-out; I was just waiting for the last 150m before opening up my sprint and it was great to get the victory."
Of the week as a whole, he added: "The main goal this week is the yellow jersey and I'm here to help Bradley win the race but I got the chance today to try for the sprint.
"I’m really happy to be in a team like this, it’s the best one you can be in. We have a really strong squad and we'll cross our fingers that we can keep the yellow jersey the whole week."
Boasson Hagen's win moved him up to third in the points standings behind Tony Gallopin (RadioShack-Nissan) while Team Sky continue to top the team classification.
The focus now switches back to the general classification for the rest of the race and going into Thursday's pivotal 53.5km time trial from Villie-Morgon to Bourg-en-Bresse, Wiggins still has that slender lead over reigning Tour de France champion Evans as he aims to repeat his Dauphine triumph of 12 months ago.
Andriy Grivko (Astana) and Carlos Barredo (Rabobank) are two seconds back in third and fourth respectively, with world time trial champion Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) a close-up fifth.
Looking ahead to Thursday, Wiggins explained: "As they have all season, the team have put me in the perfect position for the time trial tomorrow.
"Without them I’d be nothing this year - it doesn’t matter how strong you are as an individual, you’re nothing without a team.
"I think it’s really going to sort the men out from the boys tomorrow. It looks a super course which should be ideal for me and it's going to have a massive say in deciding the race - the time gaps will certainly look pretty different afterwards."
The third stage had seen a two-man break of Luis Angel Maté (Cofidis) and Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel) go away inside the very first kilometre and they were quickly allowed to build up a lead of over five minutes.
All three categorised climbs came in the first half of the day and the peloton - paced mainly by those with an interest in setting up a sprint finish, especially FDJ-Big Mat - always looked relaxed with the situation.
The escape duo were steadily reeled in after the halfway point, with the catch coming with just over 15km remaining.
The closing stages saw stage favourite Degenkolb's chances derailed by a puncture and Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing) then tried to jump clear inside the final 2km.
But he was overhauled by RadioShack-Nissan before Omega Pharma-QuickStep surged to the front only for Boasson Hagen to have the final say.