South African Robert Hunter won a crash-hit bunch sprint to take the 182.5-km 11th stage of the Tour de France.
The Barloworld rider beat Swiss Fabian Cancellara of the CSC team by half a wheel.
Brazil's Murilo Fischer came home third for the Liquigas team.
"It was a very difficult stage, there was a lot of wind. It was not easy to win in such a crazy finish," said Hunter, who is the first South African to win a Tour stage.
"It is very important to me to win a stage on the Tour de France. I am speechless."
Barloworld, who were invited to compete in the race by Tour organisers, clinched their second stage win following Colombia's Juan Mauricio Soler's in Briancon on Tuesday.
Holder of the green jersey Tom Boonen did not compete in the final sprint after being delayed by a massive crash some 800 metres from the line.
France's Christophe Moreau, who was sixth overall and aiming for a podium in Paris, finished more than three minutes behind the winner after being caught by a sudden burst of acceleration from the Astana team at the front of the peloton, 70 km from the
The French champion dropped to 12th in the overall standings, six minutes 31 seconds adrift of Dane Michael Rasmussen of the Rabobank team, who retained the yellow jersey.
German Erik Zabel and Norway's Thor Hushovd were also left behind and did not take part in the final sprint.
The day's breakaway ended 38 km from the line after the Astana and Quick Step teams upped the pace and rode at breakneck speed.
A Reuters car carrying photographers caught fire 110 km after the start, causing a one-km diversion to the course.
"It happened 20 minutes before the riders' arrival at point of the accident," organisers' spokesman Philippe Sudres said.
No one was hurt in the incident.