Caleb Ewan emerged late from the chaos of the sprint, sprinting down the barriers and passing Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-QuickStep) in the final metres to claim the victory. The Australian sprinter was jubilant after the finish, triumphant after what had been a hard start to the Tour for his Lotto Soudal team with the abandonment of John Degenkolb and Philippe Gilbert.
"The last two days haven't been great for us," said Ewan. "Obviously the first day we crashed and lost two guys, so we're down to six already. But, everyone stayed motivated and we all knew that if all went right then I could win the sprint. Everyone did their job today and gave 110 per cent and made up for the two guys we missed and it worked."
Ewan was kept at the front of the race by Jasper de Buyst as the peloton passed under the flamme rouge, delineating the one-kilometre remaining mark.
"The guys did a great job keeping me at the front," said Ewan. "In the last kilometre I was a bit far forward so I dropped back a bit in the wheels and that gave me a bit of time to rest the legs a little bit before the last hit out.
'In the end, it worked perfect. Coming from behind it's a bit of a risk, but I found my way through the barrier and I came with a lot of speed and it worked at the end."
The win is Ewan's fourth of the season, and his fourth at the Tour de France after his impressive hattrick of stages last year.
"It's the Tour de France," said Ewan, "it's the biggest race in the world and the one everyone wants to win at. I'm so happy to get a win and prove that last year wasn't a fluke."
After lighting up the battle for the polka dot jersey on yesterday's stage, Benoît Cosnefroy (Ag2R Mondiale) and Anthony Perez (Cofidis) danced away from the peloton to join Jérôme Cousin (Total Direct Energie) who attacked from kilometre zero. Cosnefroy's team mate Oliver Naesen was also along for the ride but got his marching orders from the team car and sat up to wait for the bunch as the leaders' advantage reached two minutes after seven kilometres.
Torrential rain made an appearance as the race hit the Col du Pilon where Cosnefroy and Perez duelled to the line for the KOM points. Perez won that round and moved into the virtual polka dot jersey, he and Cosnefroy then let Cousin head off alone in a bid for stage glory on the rolling terrain remaining on the stage.
Unfortunately, Perez later had to abandon the race with a suspected broken collarbone after crashing on a descent with just under 70 kilometres remaining.
Aided by teammate Nans Peters, Cosnefroy took one point on the Col des Lèques behind Cousin before the pair returned to the peloton.
Cousin's lonely breakaway came to an end with 16.2 kilometres remaining, with Tim Declercq (Deceuninck-QuickStep) the main man responsible for shutting down the breakaway.
The flat finish in the town of Sisteron was run into a headwind, with teams measuring their energy to not overcommit too early. The general classification teams got their leaders into the final three kilometres without any issues, and then the sprint trains took over.
All the sprinters flew to the front in the final kilometre, jostling for position with Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-QuickStep looking the winner as he launched down the barriers. However, a patient sprint from Ewan was rewarded as he emerged from the Irishman's wheel to take the sprint victory.
The Tour de France continues with the first summit finish of the race, the Orcières-Merlette, with coverage from 9.15pm AEST on the SBS SKODA Tour Tracker, 9.30pm on SBS VICELAND and 10.30pm on SBS HD.