Mikel Nieve moved to within touching distance of the top ten overall on Friday's mountainous 19th stage.
Along with a host of team-mates, Nieve infiltrated the large break of the day that got away early on the stage from Bourg-d'Oisans to Le Grand Bornand.
Together with Ion Izagirre, Romain Sicard and Rubén Pérez he spent almost all 204 kilometres off the front, at one time being in with a shout of the stage victory. With Rui Costa in the break, though, it was always going to be an uphill battle, and no one could catch the wheel of the Movistar rider once he upped the pace on the final climb.
Nieve eventually ceded quite a bit of time on the final climb, trailing in ninth, more that two minutes back. He moved up to 13th on GC and is only a couple minutes off the top ten with Saturday's mountain finale to come.
In the mountains classification he's six points off Froome and five off Rolland, so the fight for the polkadots is surely going to go down to the wire.
- (1, Rui Costa (Movistar), 5:59:01)
- 9, Mikel Nieve, 2:16
- 29, Ion Izagirre, 8:44
- 30, Igor Antón, s.t.
- 58, Romain Sicard, 19:27
- 80, Mikel Astarloza, 27:19
- 83, Juan José Oroz, s.t.
- 90, Rubén Pérez, s.t.
- 144, Juan José Lobato, 35:24