Peters (AG2R Mondiale) unhooked from the other last remnant of the breakaway at that point, Ilnur Zakarin (CCC) on the technical descent of the Port de Balès, 36kms from the finish.
Suffering also on the descent of the Col de Peyresourde, Zakarin was ultimately leapfrogged by former breakaway companions Toms Skujiņš (Trek-Segafredo) and Carlos Verona (Movistar).
But the day belonged to Peters who fearlessly took on the downhill ramps.
“This is crazy," Peter said. "It was already something unbelievable to win a stage on my first participation to the Giro d’Italia last year and now it’s the same at the Tour de France.
"I told myself why not try at the Tour too. It was a dream and I made it! I knew Zakarin was stronger than me up the climbs but I never gave up. I convinced myself to not crack.
"I had seen in the downhill of Port de Balès that he descended like a goat so I was confident to beat him in the finale of the stage.
"I had no ear piece, so the only info I had were by looking back. Only 2km to go I thought that I was going to win.”
In the battle for the yellow jersey, Pogačar winsomely waltzed away from the main contenders 14kms from the finish, leaving Primož Roglič and Nairo Quintana to launch repeated attacks applying the screws, most notably on Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers).
But the defending champion, current race leader Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), Rigoberto Urán (EF), Mikel Landa (Bahrain) Guillaume Martin (Cofidis), Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) and Romain Bardet (AG2R) all rallied from being dropped to reunite with the Slovenian and Quintana, all coming home together with Bardet a few seconds ahead after a small attack.
Pogačar attacked again on the Peyresourde, cresting the climb with a minute's advantage on the yellow jersey, group and holding onto most of his advantage on the descent to the finish, finishing with 40 seconds lead on his GC rivals.
“Today felt really good," said Pogačar. "I saw the opportunity on the last climb and I went full gas to the top so I got the gap. The descent was just straight downhill, so I lost some time on the descent probably because I was alone.
"40 seconds, it was a really good day for me today. The Tour has not finished… it’s just started.”
The stage started without an official flag drop as race director Christian Prudhomme struggled to remove it from its holder, but 13 riders still got away early with Søren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb) lighting the match.
King of the mountains leader Benoît Cosnefroy was also present with Andersen in the break along with team mate Peters, Zakarin, Kevin Reza, Quentin Pacher (B&B Hotels-Vital Concept), Michael Mørkøv (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Neilson Powless (EF), Fabien Grellier and Jérôme Cousin (Total Direct Energie), Carlos Verona (Movistar), Toms Skujins (Trek-Segrafredo), and Ben Hermans (Israel Start-Up Nation).
Mørkøv won no friends in the break sitting in the back for much of the first 40 kilometres until finally making an effort when he helped himself to 17 points at the intermediate sprint behind Cousin.
11 minutes later Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quick Step) and Bryan Coquard (B&B Hotels-Vital Concept) took care of the last two and one remaining points ahead of Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe). Bennett is now just seven points behind Sagan in the battle for the green jersey.
The leaders' advantage reached a maximum of 14 minutes, 85kms from the finish.
Giacomo Nizzolo (NTT Pro Cycling) abandoned the race on the lower slopes of the Col de Menté with a knee injury while blood slightly gushed out of the left elbow of Bardet in a crash not captured by the race cameras.
At the KOM line on that climb, Cosnefroy was too good for Pacher and Cousin and extended his tally in the polka dot jersey to 35 points.
Cousin unhooked from the break on the descent of Menté but was soon swallowed up some of his former breakaway companions before Zakarin and Peters headed away looking for stage honours.
Race radio erupted when the break reached 40kms to go on the Port de Balès as Thibaut Pinot struggled on the climb, clutching his back and losing around eight minutes to the main GC group on the 11.7km climb. Pinot finished the day over 25 minutes behind Peters.
Primož Roglič's main lieutenant Sepp Kuss also fell behind on the climb but it meant little with the depth of the Jumbo-Visma team as first Tony Martin then Robert Gesink drove the main bunch hard. Gesink peeled off with 34kms to go where van Aert then took over.
Peters took the 20 points on Port de Balès ahead of Zakarin who lost touch as Peters confidently bombed it down the technical descent.
Dumoulin turned the screws for his leader Roglič on the Peyresourde where Julian Alaphilppe exploded and Yates, Porte and Landa too appeared to struggle under the pressure.
That's when Pogačar launched his attack and the rest of the main GC contenders' fireworks unfolded. The Slovenian's attack ended up netting him 40 seconds back on the main pack of climbers, putting him back within a minute of yellow-jersey wearer Adam Yates. Yates was called upon to defend in the final kilometres when Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) attacked, and limited the Frenchman's gains to retain the yellow jersey going into the final stage before the rest day.
Cosnefroy retained the polka dot jersey, four points clear of Peters.
The Tour de France continues in the Pyrenees tomorrow, with another mountainous stage from Pau to Laurens set to test the peloton with steep climbs on the agenda. Watch the action from 8.05pm AEST on the SBS ŠKODA Tour Tracker and from 8.30pm on SBS HD and SBS On Demand.