Britain's Steve Cummings claimed his maiden Tour de France stage victory by with a late sprint to the line of stage 14 to give his South African-registered team MTN-Qhubeka their first victory at the three-week race to mark Mandela Day in style.
MTN-Qhubeka were chosen as the first African team to appear in the Tour de France they were given one of the five wildcard places back in January.
General manager Brian Smith had targeted Stage 14 as a way of marking Nelson Mandela's birthday, a national holiday in South Africa.
Cummings ensured they fulfilled that pledge as he came out on top after being involved in a 20-man breakaway on the 178.5 kilometres stage from Rodez to Mende.
Among those in the breakaway was yesterday's stage winner Greg van Avermaet of Belgium, Slovakian national champion Peter Sagan, Britain's Simon Yates and France's Thibaut Pinot, whose bid for a high position on the general classification faltered early in the race due to crashes and mechanical incidents.
Pinot's FDJ team were key to the success of the breakaway as they aimed to deliver their team leader, seen as the most likely French winner of the Tour de France in future years, to the foot of the côte de la Croix-Neuve allowing him to climb away for the stage victory.
It was another Frenchman, Roman Bardet, though, who made the key move towards the finish inside the final two kilometres although his effort was successfully countered by Pinot and then Britain's Cummings as the final climb drew to a close.
The flat finish was always more likely to suit Cummings, an Olympic silver medallist on the track, and the 34-year-old used that pace to good effect to ride the two Frenchmen off of his wheel and win the stage in 4 hours 23min 43sec, disappointing the watching French President Francois Hollande.
"It's a relief to cross the line as a winner, I did what I was supposed to do, we entered this stage with a huge motivation," Cummings said.
"It's fantastic for the team to win at the Tour de France and it's even better on Mandela Day.
"We had a special meeting about that this morning and we wore a special helmet but I didn't think we could win, that was a long shot.
"For now, I don't realise that I've won a stage at the Tour de France, the Tour de France is a dream."
There was further success for Britain as Chris Froome as he extended his overall race lead as his nearest challenger, America's Tejay van Garderen, lost a further 40 seconds to the race leader and now lies 3min 32sec off the yellow jersey holder.
Colombia's Nairo Quintana assumed second place 3:10 behind Froome, who claimed afterwards a spectator had thrown urine at him and accused him of being a doper during the stage.
Stage 15 will be the sprinters final opportunity to gain a victory before the final stage of the race in Paris on July 26, with tomorrow's 183km route from Mende to Valence being predominately flat for the final 40km.
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January 2015:MTN-Qhubeka become Africa's first Tour de France team