Team Sky pair Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome are now first and second in the Tour de France after a dramatic 11th stage which saw Pierre Rolland (Europcar) win from the remnants of a breakaway group.
Not only did Wiggins retain the yellow jersey but team-mate Froome moved up to second place after an epic ride which saw him take third place on the stage as reigning champion Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) lost nearly a minute and a half to his general classification rivals.
It all means Wiggins now leads by 2:05 from Froome, with Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) up to third, a further 18 seconds behind. Evans is down to fourth, 3:19 adrift of Wiggins.
On the day he became the first Briton to wear the yellow jersey for four days in one Tour, Wiggins and his Team Sky squad again produced a show of strength to repel a number of attacks on one of the race's most difficult stages.
It may have been one of the shortest at 148-kilometres but the first day in the Alps from Albertville to La Toussuire featured two hors categorie (beyond category) climbs and ended with an 18km category one ascent.
The fireworks among the overall contenders only really started on the Col du Glandon, the second HC climb, as reigning champion Evans surged past the yellow jersey group and quickly opened up a gap.
The planned move from BMC Racing saw team-mate Tejay van Garderen drop back from up the road to pace Evans and they were able to stretch the advantage out to 30 seconds.
However it soon became apparent that Evans was struggling to match van Garderen's pace while in behind Michael Rogers produced a massive turn on the front to help Team Sky snuff out the danger.
Indeed Rogers ended up setting the tempo for no less than 40km which took Team Sky right into the final climb up to La Toussuire, with Richie Porte taking over at that point.
By then there were only 16 riders still in the yellow jersey group and four of them - Jurgen Van den Broeck (Lotto-Belisol), Janez Brajkovic (Astana), Thibaut Pinot (FDJ-Big Mat) and Nibali - threw down the next challenge to Wiggins as they went off the front in pursuit of Rolland and what was left of the break.
Nibali attacked again going under the 10km banner and briefly put distance between himself and the Team Sky pair.
Froome and Wiggins shared responsibility for the chase but Evans could not sustain the pace and with under 5km to go, Nibali's group was caught.
Soon after Froome accelerated again but reduced the tempo when he realised Wiggins hadn't gone with him before resuming his position in front as the duo increased the advantage over Evans.
With Rolland - despite a crash on a descent - taking the victory on the day, the battle was on for second and it was stage eight winner Pinot who just pipped Froome, the pair 55 seconds behind Rolland and a couple of seconds in front of Van den Broeck, Nibali and Wiggins.
"I think Nibali is getting stronger all the time, it certainly appears that way," said Wiggins of his Italian rival, the pair giving each other plenty of mutual respect as they crossed the line together.
"I was pretty surprised Cadel went on the Glandon - there was a hell of a long way to go and we were riding a pretty high tempo and still had quite a few guys there.
"But it's been a fantastic day again for us; it's another one ticked off and we've actually taken more time off Cadel which we never expected this morning."
Of the final 5km and the moment when Froome briefly went clear, Wiggins added: "I was just really concentrating on my effort and keeping it constant.
"I'd been riding for 1.5km, 2km before that. I just wanted to clear the lactate and didn't want to make any more of an acceleration.
"There was a lot of noise and a lot of things going on on the radio and a bit of confusion at that point as to what we were doing.
"I think he (Froome) showed today he had the legs, certainly. It was another great day for the team.
"He wanted to try to get a bit of time on him (Evans) today. It was certainly the plan this morning, as long as I stayed with Vincenzo and those guys and Chris didn't drag those guys away."
Sports Director Sean Yates offered glowing praise for a team performance which began from the first kilometre over some of the toughest terrain in the Alps.
He said: “I’ve been part of many big teams and some big rides but today was right up there with some of the best performances I’ve witnessed during my years being involved with cycling.
“Everything was kept in check which was the goal at the start of the day. Everyone wanted to have a dig and attack which was to be expected. We managed the situation and the opponents and ultimately took some time out of Cadel.
“Froomey took a couple of seconds in the final and moved up to second on the day. There was some real commitment by the boys today and I’m really proud of the whole team. I can’t praise them enough.”