In the break of the day, Smith (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) looked set for a return to a stint in the polka dots. The Kiwi fought off his breakaway companions to grab the first two points on the Côte de Ploudiry. He easily grabbed the only point on the next categorised climb which moved him into equal position with the Latvian before the final two ascents.
With his stage victory, Dan Martin (UAE Emirates) took the final Mûr-de-Bretagne points, but on the preceding lap, Skujiņš sensed his chance as lone breakaway survivors Smith and Fabien Grellier (Direct-Energie) failed on the infamous wall.
The Trek-Segafredo rider said the plan wasn't necessarily to keep the jersey.
"The only guy I looked for in the beginning was Sylvain Chavanel because he was on the same points as I was but he sent two of his teammates up the road that meant that I oculd relax a little bit
"Obviously it could've gone one way or the other. I could've lost the jersey but obviously the main goal wasn't keeping the jersey it was mostly looking after Baulke (Mollema)
"Then we hit the (final) climb (for the first time) I saw that the breakaway was right there and they weren't that far. I saw Bauke was safe crossed my fingers and jumped for the last 500 and hope nothing happens."
Despite the close fight today between Smith and the Latvian, the pair are mates.
"I was actually talking to Dion before the stage, we're pretty good friends, we were teammates for two years. He said he was going to go for it. I said you're welcome.
"Even if he had I'd be pretty happy."