We've seen this before on the Tour de France, but it never fails to thrill - a cyclist jumping over the peloton.
Thomas, who is from Wales, required slightly less than 3-1/2 hours to complete the 108.5km route from 1992 Winter Olympics host city Albertville to La Rosiere Espace San Bernardo ski station.
QuickStep Floors rider Alaphilippe attacked from what remained of the breakaway on the Col de Romme and went solo over the Col de la Colombiere to claim victory. More importantly, Van Avermaet crossed the Grand-Bornand finish line 1:39 ahead of a group that included most of the main contenders to top the podium in Paris on July 29.
"It's really awesome, I can't even find my words, but I'm thinking about my family and I'm really glad to have made them happy".
The major general classification casualty of the stage was Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First) who struggled on the steeper pitches, perhaps the result of a crash on Stage 9, losing two minutes to his rivals. "Everything went through my head, all the work, my family".
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As well as Ellie and Charlie, Georgia Steel and Sam Bird , and Megan Barton Hanson and Wes Nelson were up for the chop.
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It will be a second spell in yellow for Thomas, who won the opening time trial of last year's Tour in Dusseldorf.
After a day's rest and with the mountains on the menu for the first time, there was no shortage of riders keen to get in the breakaway - including Van Avermaet.
Despite having Sky teammates at the front of the peloton, once Froome got a wheel from teammate Jonathan Castroviejo, he was left all alone for several minutes until Wout Poels eventually dropped back to help him get back.
So will Thomas, wearing the yellow jersey, sacrifice himself for Froome on Thursday's climb up legendary Alpe d'Huez?
Van Avermaet's BMC team lost leader Richie Porte when he broke his collarbone on Sunday. He wore the yellow jersey for four days past year - before dropping to second behind Froome - then crashed out on a descent in stage nine.
Earlier, Dutch rider Annemiek Van Vleuten won the women's La Course for a second year in a row. The incident occurred on stage 10 in the Alps, with most bikers seemingly blissfully unaware of what was going on.