Floyd Landis staged a remarkable recovery to put himself back in Tour de France contention with a dramatic solo win in Morzine.
The Phonak team rider had written off his chances on Wednesday night after he ran out of energy when leading stage 16 at La Toussuire with 15km to go, eventually losing ten minutes to fall from first to 11th overall.
However, after starting the day seemingly hopelessly adrift of leader Oscar Pereiro by eight minutes and eight seconds, Landis made a stunning early break with more than 120km remaining to reel in early leader Patrice Halgand and secure a sensational win which opened up the whole field and lifted him to third place overall.
Landis, who became the tenth American to win a stage on the Tour, finished the 200.5km stage five minutes, 42 seconds ahead of CSC rider Carlos Sastre, and is now just 30 seconds behind Pereiro ahead of tomorrow's crucial time trial at Le Creusot.
Pereiro finished the stage in seventh place, and now leads the Tour from Sastre by just 12 seconds.
Landis said: "I had a bad day yesterday and I had to make up for it, and that's the way it worked out.
"I told everyone last night that if someone wanted to win this race, they were going to have to earn it."
Halgand made the early move, and at one point had a lead of over 11 minutes.
However, not even a puncture could slow Landis' relentless chase, and the 30-year-old took control of the stage when he moved into the lead with 72km remaining.
Tailed by Patrik Sinkewitz, the pair built up a lead of over eight minutes on the peloton and, for the majority of Landis' climb of the Col de la Colombiere, it looked like he may even regain the yellow jersey.
Just 24 hours after his mountain attack failed miserably at La Toussuire, Landis showed remarkable mental and physical strength to attempt another breakaway.
Sinkewitz fell away after 50km in Landis' slipstream before Sastre made his break from the Peloton to challenge for the overall lead, but he was unable to make much impression into the American's lead.
Landis, who also moved into second place in the King of the Mountains race, is an accomplished time-trialler - he finished second in the first 'contre la montre' - and will believe he can succeed countryman Lance Armstrong as the holder of the Tour title.
He said: " My chances don't look so bad now. Like I said, I'm confident in my time-trialling, if you saw today, then you probably agree with me."