(CNN) -- Sylvain Chavanel reclaimed the leader's yellow jersey at the Tour de France after a bold attack in Saturday's seventh stage gave him his second victory in this year's 97th edition of cycling's premier race.
The Frenchman finished the 165.5-kilometer leg from Tournus to Station des Rousses ahead of Spaniards Rafael Valls Ferri and Juan Manuel Garate, having burned the reluctant chasing pack in the hot conditions.
He claimed an overall lead of one minute and 25 seconds over Cadel Evans, the runner-up in 2007 and 2008, who finished 14th in the 35-strong peloton -- who all came home 1:47 behind the Quick Step team rider.
Previous leader Fabian Cancellara fell way off the pace as he finished more than 14 minutes behind Chavanel in 84th place, to be 58th overall with a deficit of 13:11.
Defending champion Alberto Contador was 13th to be sixth overall, 2:27 behind Chavanel, while seven-time winner Lance Armstrong is 3:16 adrift in what is his final attempt at the race.
Canada's Ryder Hesjedal moved into third place after finishing eighth, while Saxo Bank's 2009 runner-up Andy Schleck was fourth overall after coming home in 20th.
Sprint points leader Thor Hushovd finished back in 179th, while his main 2009 rival Mark Cavendish could not follow up Friday's second successive stage win as he placed 161st.
It was a good day for Quick Step as Jerome Pineau successfully defended his lead in the mountains classification, attacking in the opening kilometer and collecting first-place points at five of the six climbs before falling back to 44th.
Pineau lead with 17km to go, but was caught by Chavanel at the foot of the final climb and the 31-year-old was not caught as the race favorites saved energy ahead of Sunday's eighth stage into the mountains at Morzine-Avoriaz.
"I began to think of the yellow jersey on the last climb, and I told myself that after having lost, it was quite a coup to take it back again," Chavanel, who also won a crash-marred second stage, told the Tour de France website.
"Tomorrow I will do everything to defend it, but I know that the battle will mainly concern Contador, Schleck and Evans. In the midst of it, I'll always give everything but if I lose it does not matter.
"Right now I'm on my little cloud, I'm floating and I don't know how else to describe it. But I see that I have great support on the road and everywhere. It warms my heart."
Evans said he was happy to let Quick Step attack ahead of a testing stage on Sunday.
"Tomorrow is the first day with really big climbs and another mountain-top finish," he said.
"It'll be another day where the main contenders look at each other, test themselves and we'll see if someone really wants to lay it on the line and blow it apart -- for someone like Alberto or Lance, it's probably in their interests to try and do that. For me it's a case of see how they go and how I cope."