Omega-Pharma's Matteo Trentin handed Italy its maiden win of the 100th Tour de France when he beat Swiss Michael Albasini and American Andrew Talansky in a sprint finish at the end of an entertaining 14th stage on Saturday.
Trentin's win means Omega-Pharma now have four stage wins following victories by British sprinter Mark Cavendish (two) and German Tony Martin.
Normally a part of Cavendish's lead-out train, the 23-year-old Italian said his experience working for the 25-time stage winner had paid off.
When you work alongside a rider like Cavendish, you learn a thing or two. I just waited patiently and unleashed my sprint with 100 (metres) to go
"When you work alongside a rider like Cavendish, you learn a thing or two. I just waited patiently and unleashed my sprint with 100 (metres) to go," said Trentin.
"We're all super happy. All my teammates came behind the podium to congratulate me and that was really nice."
Britain's yellow jersey holder Chris Froome, of Team Sky, came over the finish line with the main peloton and his chief rivals just over seven minutes adrift.
Froome did not come under attack during the undulating 191km ride from Saint-Pourcain-sur-Sioule to Lyon and still leads Dutchman Bauke Mollema (Belkin) by 2min 28sec and Spain's former two-time winner Alberto Contador (Saxo) by 2:45.
A day after Froome and several leading challengers lost 1:09 to key rivals Contador and Mollema, the contenders for overall victory kept their powder dry ahead of Sunday's first summit finish at Mont Ventoux.
After a frenetic start to the stage, during which a number of attacks were launched and countered, a group of 18 riders finally broke free of the main bunch and went on to build a healthy lead.
Cracks in their collaboration began to appear, however, around 20km from the finish.
With two of the day's seven small climbs still to negotiate, Frenchman Julien Simon tried his hand and came over the summit of the 1.8km Duchere climb with a 20sec lead.
However the Sojasun rider's hopes of becoming France's first stage winner on this edition ended when he was caught by Albasini just outside the final kilometre.
Attacks by veteran Jens Voigt (RadioShack) and German Simon Geschke (Argos) came to nothing, and just as Albasini began powering towards the finish, Trentin opened up his sprint to come over the line half a wheel's length ahead of the Orica rider.