Team Astana made it two wins in two days as Danish sprinter Magnus Cort Nielsen outgunned his two rivals, Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) and Ion Izagirre Insausti (Bahrain-Merida) in the final stages of Stage 15.
Geraint Thomas in the yellow jersey, second-placed Chris Froom and the rest of the overall contenders were in a pack more than 10 minutes behind and had not finished yet.
This is the scenario 2012 Tour victor Sir Bradley Wiggins claimed would be a nightmare for his old team, but as questions about a leadership battle returned, the Welshman played the role of loyal lieutenant.
"It's just how I feel". "I wouldn't give it up for any money".
The former Barcelona playmaker came off the bench after 58 minutes with Kobe already trailing by two goals and, despite one or two trademark flicks, was unable to inspire a comeback in front of a crowd of 26,000. It was a big group with us so we knew it wouldn't work well towards the final with so many guys. "It's the ideal scenario at the moment and long may it continue".
Amid a general feeling of suspicion surrounding Sky and their sheer domination of the race, Froome has been spat at, Thomas has been booed off the podium and some of Sky's staff have also faced abuse during the opening 15 stages. "How the team want to ride".
Just after going over an uncategorised climb with 33km to go, Stuyven attacked Izaguirre and Slagter on the flat and put his classics specialist prowess on display, riding away solo on the descent.
Thomas did that comfortably, and when Mikel Nieve slid into view, trying to win the stage from the breakaway, another prize was on offer and he sped up again, passing the Mitchelton-Scott man inside the last 400 metres.
A history-making chapter in the life of Geraint Thomas may be around the corner, but the "buzz" of wearing the Tour de France yellow jersey is starting to weigh heavily.
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"All this talk of attacking or not attacking. we're in an incredible position".
"Winning the Tour would be insane too, which is why I'm not thinking about it".
Thomas added: "I don't wake up every day thinking "I have to beat Froomey today". It's not up to us to be attacking.
"It's a shame, but we're not going to let it distract us". "We were always in the right place, and it's a good day to get done".
The 30-time stage victor was dropped early on and spent the entire stage off the back, but rejected a ride in the broom wagon before crossing the line 65 minutes after Thomas.
There were a number of world-class riders in the break, among it, Fraile, Alaphilippe, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing).
"I've said it before, but it's the first time I've raced for 3 weeks, as a GC (general classification) leader so it's a bit of an unknown", said Thomas, after he and Froome trailed home over 18 minutes behind Spanish stage victor Omar Fraile in Mende.
Martin's late moves, an encouraging sign after a bruising stage nine to Roubaix, saw the UAE Team Emirates rider move up to 10th, level on time with Movistar's Quintana, three minutes 16 seconds down.