A counter attack from yellow jersey Bradley Wiggins and Team Sky colleague Chris Froome saw the Britons move into first and second place overall after stage 11 of the Tour de France as the race entered the high Alps.
On a 148km route from Albertville to La Toussuire which Wiggins had described as the toughest day of the route to Paris, the 32-year-old Londoner survived repeated attempted attacks on his commanding lead as Pierre Rolland (Europcar) triumphed.
Defending champion Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) made a short-lived attack two thirds of the way up the 22.4km Col de la Croix de Fer, the second of the day's two hors category climbs.
The forlorn attempt was perhaps an indication of his form as Evans, who began the day 1'53" behind in second place, lost touch with Wiggins two thirds of the way up the final climb.
Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale), fourth at the start of the day, twice attacked on the 18km final ascent to La Toussuire, but Froome and Wiggins shared the pursuit to close the gap.
As Rolland claimed a solo success, Thibaut Pinot (FDJ-Bigmat) won the dash for the line to claim second, 55" behind, with Froome third on the same time. Jurgen van den Broeck was fourth, Nibali fifth and Wiggins sixth, two seconds further adrift.
Evans rolled in 2'23" behind, conceding 1'28" to Froome, who moved up to second place in the rankings.
Wiggins was set to enter tomorrow's 226km Stage 12 from Saint-Jean de Maurienne to Annonay-Davezieux with a 2'05" advantage over Froome, with Nibali third, 2'23" behind, and Evans 3'19" adrift in fourth.
Van den Broeck (Lotto-Belisol) sits fifth, 4'48" behind.
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