Team Sky rider Edvald Boasson Hagen prevailed in a sprint to win the third stage of the Dauphine Libere here on Wednesday.
The Norwegian's teammate, Bradley Wiggins, retained the overall leader's jersey on the eve of the 53.5 kilometre time trial in Bourg-en-Bresse.
Boasson Hagen clinched the 167km stage from Germany's Gerald Ciolek with Borut Bozic of Slovenia taking third.
The 25-year-old Scandinavian, who picked up two stage wins on the Tour de France last year, was claiming his second stage victory in the Dauphine two years after his first.
He said: "The priority is the yellow and blue jersey for Bradley.
"But today I had more freedom. I positioned myself in the slipstream of Gerald Ciolek and waited until the last 150 metres before making my move.
"It's been a very good week. For the Tour (de France) - I'll be there to help (Mark) Cavendish and Wiggins.
"If I have the chance I'll try to make an impression but that would be a bonus. I'm there first of all to help the team. I'm thrilled to be in this outfit."
Wiggins, looking ahead to Thursday, said: "The time trial is super important. It's rare to have a race against the clock over 53 kilometres. It'll sort out the men from the boys.
"It's going to be the most important day of the week, with Saturday's stage."
Reflecting on his colleagues he added: "The team is great, no matter what state you are in, you are nothing without a team. Without my teammates, I'm nothing. It's a very strong group, we're probably the most professional team in the world, on every level."
The day's ride was marked by an early breakaway by Egoi Martinez and Luis Angel Mate, the Spanish duo quickly establishing a six-minute lead over the main pack.
They were eventually reeled in 16km from the finish.
In the general classification Wiggins conserved his one-second advantage over Australian Tour de France winner Cadel Evans.