Briton Simon Yates came home alone in Friday's sixth stage of the Paris-Nice with France's Julian Alaphilippe retaining the leader's yellow jersey.
Orica rider Yates crossed the line 17sec up on Colombian Sergio Henao who gained a dozen seconds on fourth-placed Alaphilippe.
Alaphilippe heads the general classification from his compatriot Tony Gallopin, over half a minute adrift, with Henao 46sec away in third.
Yates made a decisive move on the penultimate climb 20km from the finish of the near 200km ride between Aubagne and Fayence.
The 24-year-old brother of last year's Tour de France fourth Adam Yates moves up to eighth overall at 1min37sec.
"There's still a lot of time to take away from Julian Alaphilippe but he's such a phenomenal rider. He's one of the best riders of our generation,” said Yates.
Alaphilippe lost time when unable to stay with Henao when the South American reeled in a breakaway from Australian Richie Porte.
"It was hard, I had cramp at the foot of the climb," the Frenchman revealed.
"He (Henao) is going to be a serious rival tomorrow."
Saturday's 177km seventh and penultimate stage concludes with a 15.7km climb up to the 1678m col de la Couillole, the highest finish in the race's 75-year history.
"A rider like Henao can build up gaps on a long climb like that, but he's not the only one, I have out watch out for others too," observed Alpaphilippe.