Sky's Bradley Wiggins held on to the overall lead in the Criterium du Dauphine after Stage 5, but admitted his team was almost caught out by Australia's Cadel Evans.
We wanted to be in front for that descent to avoid problems. When we saw that some of the leaders were a little far behind, we tried our luck.
Wiggins's hold on the leader's yellow jersey appeared under threat when last year's Tour de France winner Evans (BMC) and Italy's Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) attacked on the descent of the hors-categorie (unclassified) Grand Colombier, which will feature in next month's Tour for the first time.
However, Wiggins battled back with the help of his Sky teammates and rejoined Evans 45 kilometres from the finish to ensure that his 38-second lead over Germany's Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) remains intact.
"We did what we had to do and once again we've defended the jersey," said the relieved triple Olympic champion at the end.
"There was a bit of bluffing going on from some of the local guys as we approached the top of the Colombier, which caught us out a bit, but that was about it.
"They warned us that it was a dangerous descent but then went full gas and caused the bunch to split.
"Cadel and three of his guys managed to stay in that group and it was a bit of an error on our part. We rallied though and the team did an amazing job to close things down.
"Once we'd got them in sight I was feeling good so I finished the job off to ease some of the pressure on the rest of the boys. There were no problems in the end and it was a straightforward finish."
Evans's sporting director at BMC, John Lelangue, said the attack had not been planned: "The move in the downhill was not planned, but it was a beautiful opportunity," he said.
"We wanted to be in front for that descent to avoid problems. When we saw that some of the leaders were a little far behind, we tried our luck. It was a nice move, even if it was a bit far from the finish."
Evans, whose move took him up one place in the overall standings, hinted there could be more skirmishes to come in Saturday's 167.5km stage, which includes six categorised climbs from Saint-Alban-Leysse to Morzine.
"Sometimes you have to take those opportunities when they come your way," the Australian said.
"In the end, it was reasonably successful because it moved me up one place on GC (general classification) and it has the possibility of helping me at least get on the podium in the future."
Watch Stage 6 of the Criterium du Dauphine, the race's queen stage, LIVE on SBS TWO and streamed online from 9.30pm AEST.