Germany's Andre Greipel sprinted to his third stage win of this year's Tour de France Saturday as Bradley Wiggins kept hold of the race leader's yellow jersey for the sixth day.
Team Lotto's Greipel held off green jersey points leader Peter Sagan at the finish in Le Cap d'Agde after 217km from Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux.
Briton Wiggins showed his strength by powering to the front of the bunch in the closing stages, attempting to hand victory to his Team Sky teammate Edvald Boassan Hagen, who eventually finished third.
The decisive moment on a largely flat stage came with 23km to go on the short but steep Mont Saint Clair where the bunch splintered under pressure.
Wiggins reacted to an attack by defending champion Cadel Evans to haul in the Australian but behind a number of the specialist sprint riders, including world champion Mark Cavendish of Team Sky, quickly lost ground.
But Greipel, with superb support from teammates, managed to join the leading group on the descent and was always favorite to claim his fourth career win on the Tour de France in the ensuing sprint.
"The team did a great job for me today. It's amazing. You can be really happy with just one victory in the Tour de France, but this one is a bit special because of the Mont Saint Clair being there near the finish," he told Eurosport.
"We deserved this."
Wiggins maintained his two minute five second lead over Team Sky colleague Chris Froome, with Italian Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) in third at two minutes 23 seconds.
Evans (BMC) is fourth at three minutes 19 seconds adrift of Wiggins.
Sunday's stage sees the race enter the Pyrenees with 191km from Limoux to Foix.