World Champion Tony Martin stormed to the stage victory in the individual time trial while Team Sky rider Chris Froome made time on his yellow jersey rivals.
Martin set the early pace on a windy stage from Avranches to the picturesque setting of Mont Saint Michel. The German rider posted a time of 36min 29secs - and had an anxious wait as the rest of the competitors rolled in.
Froome came closest to challenging his time, and was two seconds ahead at the 20km time split. But he lost 14 seconds over the final 13km to finish the 33km stage 12 seconds behind Martin.
Still, he made large gains on his yellow jersey rivals, extending his race lead to 3min 25sec over second placed Alejandro Valverde. He also made more than two minutes over two-time champion Alberto Contador.
The only jersey change from the stage saw Polish rider Michal Kwiatkowski place fifth, which moved him into the white jersey as the best young rider in place of Nairo Quintana.
The stage didn't pass without controversy though, after Mark Cavendish was involved in an unsavoury incident with a spectator.
The Omega Pharma Quickstep rider was sprayed with urine by a fan as he raced through the stage.
His team manager Patrick Lefevere said: "I regret this, I always felt that cycling fans were gentlemen, enthusiastic people.
"Mark is sad, he's not upset, just sad. I cannot blame anyone, there are 100,000 or 200,000 people on the road, and one person decided to do this."
Lefevere said he assumed the incident was connected with the crash at the end of yesterday's race, involving Cavendish and Tom Veelers. A race jury later found Veelers at fault.
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