Oscar Freire claimed victory on stage nine of the Tour de France, winning a sprint finish by the narrowest of margins ahead of Robbie McEwen and Erik Zabel.
Freire suffered a big drop in the standings - going from fourth to 74th - after finishing 134th in Saturday's individual time trial, but bounced back yesterday by emerging first following a massive scramble for the line in Dax.
The stage was dominated by Stephane Auge, Walter Beneteau and Christian Knees who broke away from the start in Bordeaux and led by seven minutes 56 seconds at the 60 kilometres mark.
But they could not hold on and were caught with three-and-a-half kilometres left on this 169.5km stage.
Ukrainian Serhiy Honchar retained the yellow jersey after finishing 32nd in Tuesday's stage.
A photo finish had Freire two tyre lengths ahead of the Australian McEwen. Zabel and Tom Boonen remain winless as they came in third and fourth respectively.
The stage began with Arnaud Coyot making an immediate break for the lead, but he was soon gobbled up by Knees, with Auge and Beneteau following.
Coyot's break was an attempt by the Cofidis team to repeat the strategy which earned Sylvain Calzati victory in stage eight last Sunday.
With Calzati out of the way, the leading trio had looked to be in complete control midway through the stage, but began to have problems as their cooperation broke down with 30km to go. French duo Auge and Beneteau could be seen gesticulating at the German Knees for having broken away too soon.
That allowed the peloton to close to within 40 seconds as they moved into the final 10km of the stage.
The Liquigas riders eventually led the pack past the breakaway group, but as they headed for the finish, it was anybody's race as the sprint specialists lined up.
Boonen made a break for the line and took Zabel with him, but at the final moment, Freire came through with McEwen right behind.
Floyd Landis closed in on yellow jersey holder Honchar with a 20th-placed finish, reducing the gap to one minute. Australian Michael Rogers is a further eight seconds back.
McEwen retained the green jersey with his second place, ahead of Boonen by 23 points in the standings.