The Ukrainian joined a 13-man group that escaped from the peloton soon after the start of the stage, that dropped down to seven as they ascended the second-category Col de Murs.
Gerolsteiner then moved to the front of the pack to protect Davide Rebellin's yellow jersey, though struggled to make inroads into the lead enjoyed by the breakaway group, and it was not until Lampre started to push the pace with the race entering the final 50 kilometres that the gap began to fall.
That was the trigger for Popovych to burst clear of the group, and Belgians Johan van Summeren and Koos Moerenhout were unable to stay in his wheel.
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11/05/2007 AT 19:02
They were reeled in with 13 kilometres left, though Popovych had managed to preserve a two minute advantage with a titanic effort on the Col de la Mort d'Imbert.
Despite tiring as the stage reached its conclusion in Manosque, he stayed clear, and crossed the line on his own, with a sprint for second place developing behind him that was won by Saunier Duval's Francisco Ventoso, with Samuel Dumoulin of Ag2r in third.
Davide Rebellin retained his yellow jersey, and has a six second lead in the general classification over Thursday's stage winner Alberto Contador.
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