La Clayette -Team Sky rider Edvald Boasson Hagen prevailed in a sprint to win the third stage of the Criterium du Dauphine here on Wednesday.
The Norwegian's team-mate, 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.
Results and standings from the 3rd stage of the Criterium du Dauphine, a 167 km ride from Givors to La Clayette on Wednesday:
1. Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR/SKY) 4hr 22min 13sec, 2. Gerald Ciolek (GER/OPQ) same time, 3. Borut Bozic (SLO/AST) s.t., 4. Roger Kluge (GER/SKS) s.t., 5. Murilo Fischer (BRA/GRM) s.t., 6. Tony Gallopin (FRA/RSH) s.t., 7. Davide Cimolai (ITA/LAM) s.t., 8. Michael Matthews (AUS/RAB) s.t., 9. Sebastien Hinault (FRA/ALM) s.t., 10. Jonathan Cantwell (AUS/SAX) s.t., 11. Nacer Bouhanni (FRA/FDJ) s.t., 12. Cyril Lemoine (FRA/SAU) s.t., 13. Leonardo Duque (COL/COF) s.t., 14. Kenny De Haes (BEL/LTB) s.t., 15. Cyril Gautier (FRA/EUC) s.t., 16. Daniele Ratto (ITA/LIQ) s.t., 17. Jelle Vanendert (BEL/LTB) s.t., 18. Jurgen Van den Broeck (BEL/LTB) s.t., 19. Andriy Grivko (UKR/AST) s.t., 20. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/LIQ) s.t.
Selected: 46. Bradley Wiggins (GBR/SKY) s.t., 53. Cadel Evans (AUS/BMC) s.t., 119. Andy Schleck (LUX/RSH) s.t., 152. Alexander Vinokourov (KAZ/AST) 58secs
1. Bradley Wiggins (GBR/SKY) 13hr 07min 55sec, 2. Cadel Evans (AUS/BMC) at 01sec, 3. Andriy Grivko (UKR/AST) 2, 4. Carlos Barredo (ESP/RAB) 2, 5. Tony Martin (GER/OPQ) 4, 6. Paul Martens (ER/RAB) same time, 7. Sylvain Chavanel (FRA/OPQ) 5, 8. Jerome Coppel (FRA/SAU) 6, 9. Andrey Amador (CRC/MOV) s.t., 10. Richie Porte (AUS/SKY) 7, 11. Rob Ruijgh (NED/VAC) 8, 12. David Millar (GBR/GRM) 9, 13. Luis Leon Sanchez (ESP/RAB) s.t., 14. Bram Tankink (NED/RAB) s.t., 15. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/LIQ) s.t., 16. Michael Rogers (AUS/SKY) s.t., 17. Juergen Van den Broeck (BEL/LTB) 10, 18. Pieter Weening (NED/GEC) 11, 19. Tony Gallopin (FRA/RSH) 12, 20. Philippe Gilbert (BEL/BMC) s.t.
Selected: 21. Janez Brajkovic (SLO/AST) 14, 23. Chris Froome (GBR/SKY) 15, 31. Jelle Vanendert (BEL/LTB) 22, 34. Pierre Rolland (FRA/EUC) 26, 36. Juan Jose Cobo (ESP/MOV) 26, 45. Tejay Van Garderen (USA/BMC) 35, 52. Denis Menchov (RUS/KAT) 40, 118. Andy Schleck (LUX/RSH) 5:21, 128. Alexandre Vinokourov (KAZ/AST) 6:27